Gaming in education to aid learning.
Over the last 20 years, online gaming has boomed! But there’s been a huge jump in recent years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021. Statista reported that 82% of children in the UK aged 12-15 played games online.
So how can your school implement gaming in education to aid learning? And what are the benefits and risks to your students? Let’s take a look!
The rise of online gaming.
Back in 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and we suddenly found ourselves with a lot more spare time on our hands! Lots of us weren’t able to go to work, and our children weren’t able to go to school. So we took up new hobbies like baking (remember the struggle to get eggs and flour?), started socialising online and tackled those DIY jobs we kept putting off.
But apparently it wasn’t just baking and DIY that took off! in 2021, Sony and Microsoft broke financial records. It was evident that lots of the UK population found gaming an excellent way to pass their free time. People were spending more money than ever on online games, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping!
An increasingly popular way for gamers to connect is by streaming themselves and providing live commentary while playing games. The most popular streaming site is Twitch. It streamed more than 72 million hours in March 2022, ranging from gaming hobbyists to professional gamers.
Twitch lets streamers earn money from their views (a bit like social media influencers on Facebook. Instagram or Twitter). Views of gaming streamers has increased dramatically. The potential earnings of becoming a professional gamer or gaming streamer can be quite appealing! Because of this, children find it just as desirable to be a professional gamer as they would a professional athlete.
How can your school introduce gaming in education?
There’s lots of benefits to gaming in education! But how can your school introduce it? Here are the three main ways you can bring gaming into your classrooms:
- Classroom gaming – Games in classrooms aren’t a new thing! Teachers have been using interactive games as part of their lessons for a long time to make them more engaging. But gaming is so much more than that. It can improve technical skills, problem-solving and social activity, which your students are likely to use every day.
- Gaming as a subject – Schools could start teaching gaming and e-sports as a dedicated subject or lesson in the curriculum! This could pave the way for future careers in a booming industry such as game designers, e-sports journalists, e-sports marketing and many more. Some institutions are already offering courses to students – The University of Portsmouth has a course in Computer Games Technology.
- Lunchtime clubs and afterschool activities – Why not introduce gaming and e-sports as an after-school or lunchtime club? You could even arrange for the local schools in your area to set up competitions in the same way that current popular sports like rugby, football and netball!
For schools to introduce gaming in education, it requires an investment in the latest gaming equipment. Our sister company Novatech are a specialist provider of gaming PCs. And paired with our superfast school broadband connections, your school can be up and gaming in no time!
The benefits of gaming in education.
Gaming improves technical skills, problem-solving and increases social activity. Let’s take a look at these a bit more:
Improved technical skills and digital competence.
Technology has become a huge part of our day-to-day lives. The gaming industry is constantly developing and changing with the latest technology trends. Introducing gaming in education allows your students to develop their technical competence, which is vital for their future in an ever-evolving digital world.
Improved problem-solving and creative thinking.
When students make a mistake, they can then learn from what they did previously. Most games will require some problem-solving and creative thinking to advance to a later stage. Or they might even need you to put your skills against one another!
Increased confidence and social activity.
Gaming can improve social skills! Many games require teamwork and communication with one another. Some students might find it easier to communicate when gaming and can improve their social skills in a setting where they feel more relaxed.
What are the risks?
Like anything, there are also risks associated with introducing gaming to schools. Although there are risks associated with implementing gaming into your school, these can be managed and monitored easily.
Games can be addictive. They’re designed to get the play to want to play for as long as possible. Schools can reduce the risk of gaming addiction by making sure students have a good balance between gaming and other learning and limiting the times they’re allowed to spend gaming.
Another risk of introducing gaming in education is online bullying. When students play online games, they can hide behind the screen and give them more confidence to insult or be abusive to others. To limit the risk of students being bullied online (or being tempted to bully others), a member of staff should keep an eye on what students say to one another down the microphone or over in-game chats.
Games can sometimes be violent and gruesome, which highlights the safeguarding concerns with schools’ duties to protect students from harmful content. Online games also mean students can play with anyone outside of the school network.
To combat this, your school should only allow age-appropriate or educational games. Teachers should monitor the content of the games and chats while they’re being played. It’s also a good idea to apply parental controls to stop your students receiving messages, friend requests and game invites from random online players.
How can we help you?
Introducing gaming into your school will increase the traffic on your network, and you might need to a higher bandwidth to cope! We’re a specialist provider of school broadband, and we can provide you with a tailored solution to meet your school’s exact needs.