Studying is dull, and this is not something we have to shy away from. And as long as your child is not the one-in-a-million prodigy, they probably prefer spending most of their time playing games than studying.
It’s only natural, games, online or offline, are engaging and stimulating in a way that education is not. Moreover, games also come with a lot less pressure. You can lose a game and click the restart button and try again, most children do not look at their education in the same way.
And while there is no shortage of parents trying to snatch away their children’s smartphones or consoles and trying to force them to open their books instead, this approach rarely seems to work. No one can pressure any human being, let alone a child, into taking interest in things they do not want to do.
Moreover, pressuring children to give up gaming in favor of books generally tends to backfire. Children are prime examples of how reverse psychology operates in human beings. The more you ask your kid not to play games, the more interest they’ll take in that activity.
We are not trying to spread despair or hopelessness. The solution is hidden the title of this write-up i.e. the gamification of education. In simple words, do not try to make your kid choose between gaming or getting a quality education, try to merge the two activities.
So, let’s start out by taking a brief look at what gamification of education is.
WHAT IS THE GAMIFICATION OF EDUCATION
In simple terms, the gamification of education refers to the application of gaming ideas, facets, and elements, to the process of knowledge-giving. This may sound like a jargon-filled, technical definition so let’s try to break this down a bit.
Let’s start by asking the question, what makes a game so interesting? Or in other words, what makes a game a game and not just another competitive activity.
Games are fun, they induce excitement and engagement. They prompt actions directed at certain goals the achievement of which results in rewards. And finally, games aim at triggering creativity and award flexibility.
Now, look at the definition again, it’ll be easier to understand. Gamification, in other words, is redefining education in a way that becomes fun.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF GAMIFICATION
The gamification of education can take many forms. Instructors and parents can pick up traditional games like chess, tic tac, or even more and embed them into the educational process.
Or they can create completely novel activities of their own while incorporating the basic aspects of gaming that we have discussed in the previous heading.
Games do not have to be limited to indoor settings as well. Instructors could have students play tag and ask the person tagged to solve a certain equation.
And lastly, if teachers, instructors, or parents lack the energy to come up with novel ideas they can also choose from the vast variety of online gamified learning apps and engage students.
This brings us to the second part of our discussion, which are some important apps that are leading the charge when it comes to the gamification of education.
AN IMPORTANT PRE-REQUISITE
Before we move on to a discussion on gaming apps, here is an important tip. If you are asking students to log onto online apps you better make sure that you have the required infrastructure to lead them through the activity.
In simpler terms, ensure that you have access to a fast-paced internet connection and a good laptop. While I’ll leave the laptop situation to you, I do have some advice for you as far as your internet connection is concerned.
Do not and I repeat, do not, rely on a slug-paced DSL connection. Several service providers like Cox Internet supply extremely fast-paced broadband to Americans continent-wide. Take advantage. Because if your system lags in the middle of the activity, instead of engaging students you will probably end up boring them and coming off as a tech dinosaur.
Now, without further ado, let’s look at some popular game apps helping instructors gamify education.
1. FREE FLOW
The game is specifically designed for young learners, kids of up to 8 years of age. The game aims to re-assert the identification of colors in children. The idea is simple. The game offers kids a puzzle of nodes. They have to draw colored lines by connecting nodes of the same color with each other, without intersecting the lines with each other.
Not only is the game brilliant for basic level color identification but will also help enhance the cognitive development of your child by helping them engage effectively with patterns.
2. MONSTER MATHS
Monster Math is an action-fantasy game designed to make young children, ranging from the 1st to the 6th grade, proficient in mathematics. The gameplay is pretty straightforward. Kids play as a monster Max, who is on a quest and has to face several enemies.
Now, here is the twist, instead of having to memorize combos’ kids have to apply and solve basic arithmetic expressions to make their character attack the enemies in front. Trust me, Max has achieved the impossible, making math fun for kids.
Pictoword is one of the most unique games you’ll find for helping your kids improve their language skills and become more verbose. The game helps kids learn new words and re-asserts old ones by giving them a combination of pictures, with simple names, and asking them to make complex words using the names of these images.
In addition to helping students become fluent and verbose speakers the game also helps enhance their IQ by giving them critical problems solving skills.
4. MENTAL UP
Unlike the other three entries on the list, Mental Up is not a single game, instead, it is a combination of upwards of 60 games. Each of these games is directed towards helping your child enhance either their concentration, focus, critical thinking, or mental math skills.
The platform is a one-stop shop for parents and instructors looking to experiment with the idea of gamified education.
The traditional clash between games and education is now a thing of the past. State-of-the-art technology coupled with modern educational techniques have helped creates a gamified environment that applies the core concepts of gameplay to make education more fun.
The above list is far from being comprehensive but will help you and your kid initiate engagement with this new form of learning.