In his book The 21st Century Classroom, Rshaid (2014) investigates the elements of gaming that draw in participants, and then proceeds to compare how classrooms could emulate those elements.
So far we have looked at these gaming elements introduced by Rshaid (2014):
- High levels of engagement
- Real-time relevant feedback
- Acceptance of mistakes as part of the learning process
- Practical hands-on learning
- Increasing levels of complexity
- Independent learning and learning from peers
This week we will look at the elements of both Customization and Individual and Self-Paced within gaming.
Many educational games attempt to offer a somewhat customized experience for players. However, often it’s the regular market games that are able to offer highly selective avatars that can become more and more detailed according to advancement in the game. These adaptive abilities, and the ownership of the choices, allow players to move through the game according to their strengths and learning styles.
In addition, gaming does what all teachers intuitively understand, yet are challenged to create in the classroom. In gaming, a player can spend one hour at a certain level or that same player could spend a week trying to master a certain set of skills in order to move forward in a game. Juggling the ideas of customization and self-pacing within a classroom of students while also facing the very real deadlines of testing and the school calendar is pragmatic challenge. However, as Rshaid (2014) states, “Attenuating the effect of the time pressure on the learning process can be a great relief for many of the students who find themselves somewhat left behind in the normal environment of oral explanation and collectively timed assignments” (p.189).
While it is truly pragmatically challenging, if teachers can incorporate some elements of customization and self-pacing within their students’ learning opportunities, all students will thrive and find additional academic success.