USING DIGITAL GAMES FOR LEARNING
Games Institute Austria – Using Digital Games for Learning
The Games Institute Austria was founded in 2015. Its founder Thomas Kunze brought together 15 years of experience in teaching and a life-long passion for video games just to stumble over the topic of Game Based Learning by accident as early as 2008. Years of practice in the educational sector as well as incorporate training showed him that the efficiency of traditional teaching couldn’t compete with how games teach their players how to play their games. Especially, very gifted and talented students were often not reached by teachers and the school system.
But most of these students were very keen on playing video games in their free time. So, what created this passion and the grit with which they played these games for hours upon hours? Studying the psychology and the philosophy behind playful learning and the attractiveness of games made him realise that “Games are the most powerful learning technology of the 21st century”, to quote Henry Jenkins, a professor for communication and education at the famous MIT.
So, after having a closer look at what games actually do and how they motivate its players I started working with universities in Austria and in other European countries to study and teach this huge potential in terms of motivation and education. There are games about almost anything nowadays, there are games for learning the stuff you need at school, there are games that treat serious topics, games that let you be a programmer, an astronaut, an architect or a city planner. These games can be used for teaching and learning and they are powerful at motivating learners to stay focused and invest a lot of work in a topic to become an expert.
There are games for learning that can be used for different age groups. Preschoolers can learn how to count with a game like Dragon Box’ Numbers or to describe differences in appearance like in Hidden Folks. In primary schools, pupils can learn about building and creating in a game like Minecraft or they can learn the basics about fractions like in Wuzzit Trouble. For Secondary schools there are countless valuable examples of games for learning, just to name two learn about sending rockets to space with Kerbal Space Program or how cities develop in Cities: Skylines. For adults, other more serious topics can be tackled by playing the politics simulator Democracy 3 or by experiencing what it feels like to live in a war zone like in This War of Mine.
There are countless more games for learning, like Mini Metro (topic: infrastructure), Factorio (effective systems), Orwell (surveillance), Human Resource Machine (coding) or Offworld Trading Company (financial literacy).
If you would like to find out more, check the following links:
Games Institute Austria on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GamesInstituteAustria/?
Quick class Blog Article on Games and Learning: https://www.quickclass.net/2018/07/10/manybenefits-turning-learning-game/
The Mindshift Educational Blog: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/51324/understanding-ethicsthrough-game-design-and-educational-goals
The World Economic Forum on Violence in Video Games: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/why-violence-in-video-games-isnt-really-a-problem