Children love video games. This is an irrefutable fact. Console games, mobile games, solo games and co-op games. With video games, build it and they will come, is an especially appropriate adage. But what about building video games for the classroom? Can they hold students rapt with enjoyment for the same amount of time? Can they inspire the same passion and engagement in lessons that children feel at home? Well, according to recent research, the answer is yes.
Why Do We Need Video Games In Education?
If you have embraced technology in your classroom, via iPads, Chromebooks, browser-based or a host of other options, you understand the need for engaging teaching materials. Finding the best digital resources for your class is essential in pulling down that ever-pervasive problem, the affective filter.
The affective filter is the barrier that lies between confidently learning a new language in a classroom setting. The emotional variables that hinder progress; fear, doubt, confusion, embarrassment. All of these negative feelings can be countered by the positive reinforcement found in video games.
“Acquisition requires meaningful interaction in the target language – natural communication – in which learners are concerned not with the form of their utterances but with the messages they are conveying and understanding.”
What Mr Krashen is referring to, is Incidental Learning. A form of engaging, immersive language acquisition that is supported by context and fun! The keys to incidental learning are distraction, context, and positivity.
“The best methods are therefore those that supply ‘comprehensible input’ in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are ‘ready’, recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production.”
Messages that students really want to hear. Stories that engage. Characters and situations that inspire excitement and discussion. Problems that need solving. That sounds like a pretty great video game!
Looking At The Data
In the Summer of 2017, Wibbu carried out its own independent research with the new language video game, Ruby Rei. Detailed in our whitepaper and efficacy tests found here, the results of testing Ruby in the classroom far exceeded expectations!
Engagement with the language-learning video game outperformed other learning resources by over four times over the course of a week! A huge increase in exposure that was entirely self-directed by the students.
Over at Legends of Learning, fascinating research has been carried out via the Vanderbilt University study, “Substantial Integration of Typical Educational Games into Extended Curricula.”
Using one of the largest samples for an edtech study, researchers discovered an increase in test scores by an equivalent of over half a letter grade! The study consisted of three weeks of observation with digital usage in the classroom and found engagement and enjoyment to steadily rise. A staggering 92% of the teachers that partook in the study said they would like to use video games again due to the impact on student performance and engagement.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University’s College of Education and Human Development, state, “The results highlight the potential of digital games for enhancing instruction, particularly in light of the teachers strongly positive experiences and interest in continuing to use games like these in the future. This study is important because it is based on data collected with a large set of games used by teachers in extended curricula across multiple school districts.”
-Via Legends of Learning.
Explore The Advantages of Video Games
How can you employ video games in your classroom to maximise engagement? It’s time to explore your options and find the best digital resources for your students’ needs. We can highly recommend the output of Filament Games, offering a variety of video games that can hold the interest of your class while aligning with your curriculum. And if you want to send your students on a language-learning adventure, we urge you to crash-land with Ruby Rei in her latest title!
Employing video games in education. It can be the future of your classroom. Interactive, engaging, fun, and bringing you results!
Written by Truan Flynn, Educational Game Writer.