Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sir Ken Robinson, Education and Gamification

Firstly, let me be honest, the main reason I wanted to do this blog post was to embed the fantastic RSA animation of Sir Ken Robinson’s speech on Changing Paradigms in education.

So, how does this link to games based learning and the gamification of education? Well, Ken Robinson’s main argument is that the current education was designed to meet the needs of the Industrial Revolution and is structured around an intellectual model of the mind that categorises people as academic or non-academic. As a result, he states that many brilliant people think they are not.  He states that we live in an intensely stimulating time yet many children are bored (and thus restless) at school. And there we have it, now I can crowbar gamification and games based learning into Sir Ken’s narrative.

  • Games can offer an aesthetic experience. They can immerse students (players) in a situation that challenges them and rewards them or as Sir Ken might say,” allow them to be fully alive in the moment”.
  • As Sir Ken states, “collaboration is the stuff of growth … great learning happens in groups”. Games based learning needn’t be a solitary exercise. Most of the games I have designed have been built on the construct of multiple teams playing different roles in a virtual community.
  • Games based learning can (and I believe should) support creative thinking. Simulation based games are a particularly powerful way to do so. Games are not linear and allow students to explore complex interactions and cause and effect, constructing creative solutions to problems as they happen.
  • Games based learning  allows students to explore contentious issues and potential solutions such as those surrounding climate change.  Our games-ED product The Climate Game requires various teams (stakeholders) to develop a solution from a diverse set of viewpoints and in doing so generates an understanding of the subject while encouraging critical thinking skills.
  • Games encourage students of all abilities to work together and provide a way to engage reluctant learners. They can go beyond utility value into encouraging an appetite for learning and so adding vitality into the classroom.

Sir Ken believes that the habits of our institutions need to change. And maybe, at a macro level, they need to. But, we don’t need to wait for a revolution, there are things that can be done right now and gamification / games based leaning is one of those things.

If you want to see the larger speech then here it is:

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