Frontiers in Education 2014

 attended the conference “Frontiers in Education FIE2014” and wanted to share part of the conversations that we had with other people interested in education coming from 48 different countries. 

One of the things that was discussed the most was how to promote welcoming and effective learning environments that are appealing to the new generations but that also maintain the development of the required contend knowledge, as well as, the desired skills. 

One thing that was common in different topics and presentations was the use of attractive (or interesting) assignments. I think it was really interesting to see how many investigators from different disciplines, countries, and cultures, were repeating the same thing: “we need to spend some time developing interesting assignments.” It has been demonstrated in several research projects that assignment that are challenging, entertaining, and relate to students interests can be a very strong factor to motivate students in the learning process.

One of the strategies proposed to create effective and attractive assignments it’s the use of gaming. One advantage of developing games so students can “play” when doing their assignments is that they have to discover what it is that they are being assessed, they are not being told what lesson they are responding to, they need to figure it out being able to see the big picture. In addition, students learn that there is a specific goal to learn when playing, that translates in finding the applicability of knowledge to solve a problem rather than memorizing.

Another advantage of using games is that games are fun, people when gaming is more able to be collaborative. They need to work together to solve the game, without collaboration is very complicated to come to a solution, therefore the classroom is more inclusive to minorities.

Finally, another advantage regarding using games as assignments is that students learn that it is ok to fail. Failure sometimes is seen, especially in engineering as a bad thing, or as something to avoid under any circumstance. By gaming, students understand that failure is an option, and can prepare to face it. A lesson that will help them when they need to face the real world.

I invite you to check out this website that have a lot of valuable information regarding how to develop games with pedagogical purposes.

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4 Responses to Frontiers in Education 2014

  1. alishafarris says:

    I like the idea that failing can be teaching tool in itself. This is quite contrary in all disciples unfortunately. If I plan an intervention and don’t get good results I am probably not going to get that manuscript accepted for publication, which is unfortunate because it might keep someone else from making the same mistakes.
    I am curious, was the gaming idea geared toward elementary, secondary, or higher education? Or all three?

    • Homero says:

      It was for all three. Isn’t it great?

      I agree with you. One of the great things about this conference was that they accepted work in progress and you would be surprised how many work in progress presentations were to present “failure”

      Actually one of my presentations was about a problem that I had with my survey results and I presented the negative results and got very good feedback on how to improve my project.

  2. gtpurdy says:

    Really glad to see that gaming may be a future alternative to assignments in higher education. As a “gamer” there is definitely a stigma associated with playing games. For many it is a relaxing pastime and only for a few can it become a destructive activity. Utilizing the appealing parts of gaming as a way of breaking the norm in higher education makes a lot of sense.

    One of my advisers commissioned a game firm to create a gene synthesis game. The goal is to make money, but the player must learn some basic gene synthesis process knowledge in order to progress through the levels. Utilizing games as learning tools is becoming more common and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

  3. tfutrell says:

    AHHHH failure… the term that many millennials don’t have a concept of. I work at an institution in which 90% of the first year class was in the top 10% of their graduating class. Failure is a nebulous concept and not something that many of them have experienced in the classroom or outside. I often say that we serve a generation in which everyone is a winner even if they are not and everyone gets a trophy even if they don’t deserve it. When they get to college and have their first “failure” whether that be a really bad grade (or a B, because that is really bad to them) or rejection from a greek organization or graduate school they fall completely apart.

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