When considering gaming in the classrooms, teacher facilitation is imperative to propel gaming beyond its current model of ‘gamer reacting to the constructs of the game’. If not carefully implemented, similarities could be drawn between the ‘gamer and game’ model to the ‘teacher centric’ model in which the teacher transmits information at the student. Although the gamer/game model is arguably an active and even collaborative relationship, I am arguing that for educational application, guided teaching is not only necessary but the key factor in the successful implementation of gaming in schools.

“For games and simulation to be effective instructionally in the classroom…[students] need guided facilitation by the teacher”.

Klopfer et.al. (2010).

This requires teacher training, resources funding, administrative support and parental approval. Concerns will range from a lack of funding, to a disconnect between the “generation of digitalised students and their pre-digital parents and teachers” . (Harushimana, 20o8).

There is some evidence of the beneficial cognitive effects of digital technologies but more extensive research is required and would undoubtably aid discussions with administrations and parents. Perhaps highlighting the extensive industry training that utilises gaming and simulation would facilitate a wider acceptance. After all, how many professional parents using technology, have experienced either gaming or simulation in their own career training? Approval might start with educators making the use of gaming  relevant to the parents too.

Schools are wary of the safety issues that surround online technologies but this should not detract from implementing them within a structured, teacher facilitated programme. Klopfer (2010) urges that schools “explore new ways to manage potential dangers; these technologies are safe, valuable tools that schools must take seriously”.

Teachers must embrace the new technologies and receive the appropriate training in order to deliver best practice implementation of gaming in education. Without the teacher, it may just be a game.  The game cannot replace the learning that stems from the relationship between student and teacher, or between students in a collaborative classroom.  Yet with guided implementation, gaming can enhance the learning and relationships.

Resources

Gee, J. (viewed 2011), Good Video Games and Good Learning,  http://www.academiccolab.org

Harushimana, I.  (2008) Literacy through Gaming: The Influence of Videogames on the Writings of High SchoolFreshman Male,Journal of Literacy and Technology 35 Volume 9, Number 2: August 2008, ISSN: 1535-0975.

Klopfer et al. (2009) The Instructional Power of Digital Games, Social Networking and Simulations. The Education Arcade.

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