During an Emerging Technologies conference held on Oct. 25, a panel of educators and technology specialists discussed how playing a game can improve learning, reports Scientific American.
Panelists agreed that in order to teach children, you must engage them. A recent experiment by the One Laptop Per Child foundation delivered more than a dozen tablets to an isolated village in the Ethiopian highlands. Each tablet was filled with books, games and apps, and no instruction was given on how to use the technology. In a matter of months, the children had learned the alphabet and could sing the ABC song.
According to Brian Waniewski, the managing director of Institute of Play, games stimulate interest. "Games create a need to know," Wanieski said. "You find things out as you progress toward your goal."
Institute of Play uses games to teach middle school-aged children in New York City. The organization is currently working with EA to figure out how to assess the knowledge gained through gaming.
Games continue to make their way into the classroom in K-12 systems and higher education. Polygon reported earlier on a recent panel at New York Comic Con that featured several educators who used gamification to reach and teach students.