Benjamin Franklin said, ” Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn

Teacher with preschool students having fun while finger painting at class

Though we may have heard of or read this famous quote several times but have we really started implementing it well?  Often lack of awareness and peripheral knowledge inhibits us from leveraging the power of brilliant learning tools like games and from unleashing the magic which can make learning an exciting and joyful experience. But I guess it’s never too late to try to understand the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, all you need to do is just keep reading.

As we know from our experience that everything has its pros and cons and games are no exceptions. It often happens that what started as casual fun becomes a highly time-consuming activity and sometimes addictive too. If somehow, we can figure out smarter ways to moderate usage, we could reap the benefits of wonderful creations like games.

Games are fun and could be easily deduced from people’s facial expressions and behaviour while they play games irrespective of age groups.

Portrait of nice cute lovely attractive cheerful positive funny people mom dad attending contest competition 

 

Games are well-known for creating immersive experiences and helping us get into the state of “Flow” which allows people to completely immerse in a feeling of “energised focus” on what they are doing. Positive psychologist Csíkszentmihályi has described this flow state beautifully – ” The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.,”[4]. Now can you tell, when it happened to you the last time?

Getting in the state of flow more often is said to have profound effects on performance, learning, intrinsic motivation and happiness[4] The state of flow is generally linked to the creative arts like drawing, writing and painting. However, it can also occur while engaged in physical activity like tennis, listening to music or studying an important topic presented engagingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are we smarter than a chimp? A classic case of the impact of gamification on memory

During a study conducted at the Yerkes Primate Center at  Tetsuro Matsuzawa, at the primate research institute at Kyoto University, Japan. An experiment that started as a regular study led to a discovery i.e. the chimpanzees can outperform humans at memory tasks. The use of gamification techniques led to the chimps achieving 90% accuracy which is quite an extraordinary feat.

Video link (See it for yourself and get amazed): https://tinyurl.com/jj579eda

Top 6 interesting and scientific benefits of playing games:

  1. Games can improve manual dexterity [6]
  2. Games can increase your brain’s grey matter and boost brain connectivity [7]
  3. Games can teach you to be a better problem solver [8]
  4. Games help dyslexic students improve their reading [9]
  5. Students who play video games are often very creative [10]
  6. Video games can boost self-confidence

Bringing the best of both worlds: educational games

From a distance, educational games and casual games may appear to be the same, but upon closer inspection, clearly by playing these educational games, one can learn STEM concepts relatively easily while having a lot of fun.

A simple analogy would be the medicines or syrups created for students which are colorful and taste relatively much better so that they can take the benefits of medicine and improve their health. Similarly, though teachers and parents understand that quality education is important for each child unfortunately children find studying boring (bitter like medicines) and one may say that educational games and gamified learning increases the likelihood of engaging students in the process of learning and can lead to better understanding, which otherwise considered to be a bit serious and boring. Well-designed educational games have the capability to engage students for a relatively longer duration.

Wonders of educational games:

By now, you may have realised that games have a unique ability to create deeply immersive experiences that help the user reach the ” flow” state to help achieve the expertise into any topic at a much faster pace. These gameplay experiences lead to much higher engagement and better learning outcomes which have been showcased by certain games in the past [13]. Let’s look at some of the best examples below:

  1. Fold it (from the University of Washington):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foldit is an online puzzle game about protein folding developed by the University of Washington. In 2011, Foldit players helped decipher the crystal structure of a monkey virus that causes HIV/AIDS-like symptoms, a scientific problem unsolved for 15 years. While the puzzle was available for three weeks, players produced a 3D model of the enzyme in only ten days that is accurate enough for molecular replacement.[12]

2.  Name em number (From Mindspark, Educational Initiatives)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Name em number” is a game in Mindspark Maths that helps students learn stating numbers in words. This game has helped the team Mindspark reveal some amazing insights and broke some myths about the potential of students to learn beyond their grade level with the help of educational games. While a lot of teachers claimed that students can learn only till 999 in grade 2 or 9999 in grade 3 but the results were quite surprising i.e many students from grade 2 and 3 were actually able to learn and answer till 99 crores, which suggests that if we can make learning fun, students can learn beyond their grades.

3. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego is an educational detective-simulation video game that will lead you to travel all across the globe in search of the legendary female, Carmen Sandiego.  This software program motivates students to learn and introduces them to a variety of cultures, people, places, and events that may have been foreign or unknown to them before. This game is useful because of the opportunities it offers to teach students a wide range of skills. Teachers can use it not only to guide their students’ development of their data gathering, organizational, and research skills, but also to foster their abilities in group learning, group problem-solving, and group decision-making exercises.

Educational games can cure study-related phobias and fast track learning

Since games are fun and students fall in love with well-designed games easily and especially when these are educational games. It just wonders to students in terms of changing students’ perspectives towards learning complex or boring concepts of subjects as seen in the games discussed above. While using Mindspark (EI’s adaptive personalized learning tool), students have sent many written testimonials sharing how Mindspark and its fun educational games have helped students fall in love with Maths and get rid of Maths phobia.

 The future of educational gaming: A glimpse!

A report The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts, commissioned by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that 50% of 470 dropouts shared they could have succeeded with engaging classroom and course material [14]. As the education industry is becoming aware of the benefits of gamifying learning process can certainly leverage the power of educational games to help our new generation learn efficiently and create a world where every child can learn with understanding and fun.

 

 References:

[1] https://www.theemotionmachine.com/5-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-playing-video-games/

[2] https://www.lidolearning.com/blog/why-game-based-learning-will-make-your-child-smarter/

[3] https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12993-chimps-outperform-humans-at-memory-task/#ixzz6r82gsd1H

[4] The Psychology of Flow: Benefits, Characteristics, and Tips (verywellmind.com)

[5] Chimps outperform humans at memory task | New Scientist

[6[ Playing video games offers learning across the life span, say studies (apa.org)

 [7] Gamers Have More Grey Matter And Better Brain Connectivity, Study Suggests (sciencealert.com)

 [8] Real-Time Strategy Game Training: Emergence of a Cognitive Flexibility Trait (plos.org)

 [9] Action Video Games Make Dyslexic Children Read Better: Current Biology (cell.com)

[10] 6 Benefits of Video Games for students | Understood – For learning and thinking differences

 [11] Foldit – Wikipedia

 [12]  The Effect of Educational Games on Learning Outcomes, Student Motivation, Engagement and Satisfaction

[13] Most Dropouts Leave School Due to Boredom, Lack of Encouragement, Report Finds

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