For my teachers getting ready to start the new school year, I know many are going into gaming education this year from Minecraft to Bugs & Buttons. Did you know that Gaming Education has been proven to teach students everything from coding to creativity and mathematics? Its true and with Gaming Education being more common now with devices such as iPads, Chromebooks and game systems like Xbox and the new OUYU. What was once believed to be too distracting is starting to be embraced by new and old educators alike. I am even getting into more by joining in the Minecraft group this fall along with a few of my fellow teachers and educators. With that said, I have to confess something, I use to be a gamer.
I know, many of you are thinking: “Well, you are a Gen Xer, Ryan of course you most likely played video games.” True but you know what? Back during the good old days of the original Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo and yes even the Nintendo 64. Many games actually helped me in school. True story. I was playing Mega Man 5 back in the day and one of the robot bosses was known as Gravity Man. The level dealt heavily with the laws of physics. You had to think fast when you were all of a sudden pulled upside down or left and right. Well, turns out during my science class that year, we were covering gravity and I was able to use Megaman to help me remember my 3 Laws of Physics and what would the difference was with Earth’s gravity and the Moon’s. Pretty nifty huh?
It doesn’t end there, when Mario 64 came out as I finished up high school, the game was the first completely in 3D. I was having problems in Geometry and I used the various levels to help me with my perimeters and scale equations by time my jumps and how long it would take me to get through the various stages. That helped me pass Geometry that school year and trust me, Math has never been my strongest subject even with how much I can quote formulas and shapes today. The truth is, gaming helped me in school and back in the 80s, 90s and even early 2000s it wasn’t thought much of as an educational tool. That has changed now, while gaming can still be seen as more distracting than educational (trust me, I see it) it can open up a student’s learning in other ways.
Much like I was able to see scientific facts or geometric shapes in my video games and apply them to education. Gaming education isn’t going away and while I do see many people get a little too caught up in their games (my brothers) or I decide to take 25 minutes to play the latest update to Angry Birds or Temple Run, I’m still using it in an educational sense. With Angry Birds its all about angles and strategy and with Temple Run its about hand eye coordination and quick thinking. Something we teach in subjects like science, math, PE and sports. Gaming education is a great part of education and one that shouldn’t be looked down on but at the same time you have to know how to use it for education and not just letting the time go by on a rainy day.