EDUCATIONAL GAMES: EDUCATION FOR EDUCATION?
Hugo Duwi Gunawan Indratno 00000000415
Abstract Technology moves fast. The use of technology is not merely helping office or industry but also household and education. One of many products of technology is computer game. Computer game that started in a very simple interface has been tremendously improving into online game. This century generation has been grown up with technological games since their early age. Bridging the need of educating young people in their “environment”, educational game is introduced as the alternative way of helping the audio-visual generation to fulfill the gap the digital-immigrant generation had missed. Keywords: Audio, arts, education, games, generation, online, technology, visual. Introduction st Educational game has been an issue in anticipating the world of games occurring in 21 century rapid changing of technology. In some videos of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), technology is really shown as the big “portion” of youngsters. As the example how youngsters has been an important matter to the world is what Nicholas Negroponte did in December 2008. He flew to Colombia to distribute his dream: laptops. He distributed the laptops to 1,000 children in Colombia with the hopes that Colombia Children would automatically be interested to read and embrace technology as he believed that children all around the world needed to be exposed to the global world. Negroponte knew very well that to distribute laptops with 100 e-books installed in each laptop would be a “problem” for the Colombia government. It was because Colombia government had different opinion in liberating its people especially the youngsters and in deciding price for technology. Problem for the government was not a problem for Negroponte as what he believed came true. In several weeks, Colombia children had spread the story they had read in e-books as there were different titles installed in each laptop. Still in several weeks, children had made a strong message that they could be “teachers” for adults in learning technology and even learning how to read to their families. Different from Negroponte’s experience, we experience how technology that used to be luxurious thing has been rapidly taking parts in our lives especially with children. A set of Personal Computer (PC) was sold around 12,000,000 Rupiahs in 1995, now can be purchased for 4,000,000 Rupiahs. Technology is rapidly changing with more reasonable price and is going to be even cheaper in near future. My three-year-old daughter now can download her favorite games through her mommy’s tab easily. She has not understood how to read but in her own way, she manages herself to understand the icons displayed on screen. I cannot imagine how she will manage herself in downloading games from any websites she can access when she knows how to read. Now, the questions are: do children know which games labeled educational and which are not? How do we define educational games? How do we articulate educational games to our children? How do we know that educational games will stay educational without giving a side effect, which is addiction? We will see how the idea works. We also will see how the idea discussed here collides with us when we do not live and get involved within the idea. To help our children understand and articulate educational games according to what we want they are to be, there’s no other way except we put children’s point of view to ours. Educational Game
Amory refers what Quinn argues that learning and educational practice needs to combine the fun elements of games with instructional and educational system design that includes motivational, learning, and interactive components (p.56). Definitely, Amory emphasizes how games that have fun elements need to be clearly mixed with instructional and educational system, which has some conditions for designers to consider. According to Oxford Dictionary, game itself defined at least in these two definitions: as a form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules; an activity that one engages in for amusement. Looking at the definition, what Amory has stated above really reasonable for game st designers in 21 century in identifying how games can be applicable as educational games or not. Moreover, as reported by Klopfer, Osterweil and Salen, educational games can exist in and out of school, and can be surrounded by formal and informal structures. Games designed for use in classrooms should have short play session to leave time for set up and discussion. They should have low technical requirements, and avoid potentially offensive conduct. While educational games designed for use outside of classrooms can avoid some or all of these constraints (p.50). Again, the conditions are added. The time and space are also becoming conditions in explaining the expectations of educational game. To differentiate educational games and entertainment games, there are online websites that can be good examples. You can find the content of these websites are different. One is truly delivering educational message, while the other one is for entertainment purpose only. These websites are educational games content: http://www.topmarks.co.uk/interactive.aspx, http://www.mathsisfun.com, http://edhelper.com, http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/maths In contraty, these websites are for entertainment purpose only: http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/, http://www.freeben10.net/game/10637_Ben10-vs-Aliens.html, http://www.gamehouse.com/online-games Constructivism Gredler clearly states that in Piaget’s view role of education is to support the spontaneousresearch of the child (p.298). It obviously takes us to the understanding that a child has inquiry base within his or her consciousness. We understand then when a child is looking for an interesting game to play with or even cannot take his or her eyes off from an interesting view happened in front of them. Their mind will wonder to think and guess to what happens right before their eyes. Vygotsky also mentioned that play, especially during early childhood, positively influences important psychological, sociological, and intellectual developments that might be a universally accepted mode of learning (p.52). It cannot be avoided to have children playing as playing is their “world” to grasp the meaningful life. Looking at the constructivism where the experimentation with real objects and interaction with peers will construct children both physical and mental and making mistakes will develop answers through their interaction with peers, the way children approach educational games presented in video or computer games is an independent learning. Education in Educational Games: Really? In 2008, I introduced an online mathematics website in a one-on-one laptop program school. The website was Mathletics. Every single maths lesson that I taught was taken from Mathletics. I managed my own class curriculum according to students’ own progress. Therefore, each student had their own progress as Mathletics gave each student a unique subscription with their own page to access. Back then; I used a mixture of British Maths Standard, Australian and South Africa. I also used Indonesian and Singaporean textbook to support and balance the content
in order to minimize the content gap across curriculum. Mathletics presented its entire maths lesson in games. It had hands-on maths online as well as the online drill. As most of the lessons presented in games (flash), the homework given were all online and games. The aura of online game was really strong as mathletics web-administrator made the interface funny and colorful. A constructivism class was there. I explained how the website operated and children followed my instruction. Afterwards, children will be busy in front of their laptops finding their own experience reading the instructions given by Mathletics. Students with difficulty in understanding problems will soon come to me and had hands-on explanation (Montessori or other mathematical tools) or another visual explanation that can be a video or a presentation). For students with a very low self-esteem and low-maths-understanding, it was the happiest time. In contrary, students with good understanding expect the class would be a content-based class where they want books, explanation, worksheets and drills. Soon, some parents came complaining that I could not teach maths. After an hour explanation on how school wanted to set a new learning paradigm, those parents went home – thought that they understood. However, the protests appeared in another form. They wanted a proof that in a maths competition, students will not fail and can be one of top ranks. We joined one maths competition. As the result, we were in top ranks. However, one thing that missed from parents’ eyes was some of low-self-esteem students joined the competition without underestimating themselves. Maths online games, maths online curriculum, maths computer drilling games are still seen as a big question in putting educational games in place. Arriving to the report card day, parents were entertained by their children with an online portfolio where all subjects recorded in very complete formats. The worksheet paper they wanted to see was in PDF version, the performance that they missed to see was in video, the maths games students played were in SWF file where parents could also try, the curriculum was presented once again as it had been presented during parents-teachers meeting in the beginning of school day. Generation gap between digital-immigrant and digital native had given a distinctive different point of view. Klopfer, Osterweil and Salen shared their thought that when educational games are embedded in a classroom context, teachers will need to evaluate how well the students play the games and whether they have gotten enough out of that experience. This evaluation generally will not make sense using traditional testing models (p.51). It was parents that were included as digitalimmigrant that full of worry that their children will not survive learning maths in a way that was not exist in their time. Students and Educational Games: Do They Get Along? In the atmosphere of constructivism, educational game can be seen from three perspectives: Students, parents and teachers. Vygotsky like Piaget focused on the mechanism by which individuals develop higher cognitive processes. However, cultural-historical theory defines them as self-regulated attention, categorical perception, logical memory, and conceptual thinking (instead of as logical reasoning processes) (Gredler, p.333). Students see educational games as the ease for their world. With games surrounded their daily activities, educational games give them such opportunity to put all effort in using logical memory and also as a tool for teachers putting conceptual thinking that the lessons might taking place. It is far beyond adults understanding when traditional learning is st becoming what they wish to be appeared in learning as 21 century learners have audio-visual mechanism developed by the environment full of gadgets. It is undeniable that students point of view in learning through educational games often misunderstood. Parents with their traditional perspective about a normal classroom where students learn from teachers writing on black or whiteboard, explaining through hands-on games, helping students to make art and craft and mostly standing in front of classroom lecturing. The old-style classrooms actions are believed still exist but surely not for this
generation. Black and whiteboard have been replaced with projectors and interactive board. Hands-on games have been replaced with flash game projected on interactive board. Art and craft is not only a 3-D items that can be brought home after school but also a computer program that students work on drawing a 3-D building or character with programs such as Google Sketchup, Panorama, 3-D Room, and many more. Geography is not only looking at map but also watching an-almost-up-to-date picture taken from Google Earth that can also be combined with maths concept on gridding and scaling. One condition is needed; parents need to know what current learning has been developed. Teachers play a very important role in constructive classrooms. They need to know their role as facilitators. As facilitators, teachers need to keep updating themselves with the growth of technology. Otherwise, the constructivism will not be really happening in classrooms. Educational games presented in audio-visual or even computer online provided by such as Mathletics, Interactive Whiteboard Resources, BBC, IXL are some examples that teachers can use. Some of the websites provide teachers with curriculum, worksheets, and of course a home-drilling session upon subscription. These websites provide totally different games with website like Cartoon Network which merely aiming for entertainment. Conclusion Finding true and right definition on what kind of classroom a teacher would like to run is very important. Knowing the students have their own prior knowledge that is ready to be developed is another important thing. Communicating how the learning in classroom will be achieved is also important. Realizing that adults and children are different generation brought by different environment is a great reflection. Thinking positive on how students will survive with their own learning style is one definite issue to accept for parents and teachers. The last one is to understand well about how educational games work in scaffolding students understanding lessons is the most important one. The criteria mentioned above are actually some conditions where the “bridge” needs to build among parents and teachers’ perspective. The presence of worksheets, class lecturing, handson activities, nature explorations are still effective yet needed. In other sides, understanding the borderline of entertainment games and educational games through content is helping a lot in st constructing meaningful learning. I believe that an ideal classroom for 21 century learners is a classroom that understands how the generation learns in its time and place. Reference Amory, Alan. “Game Object Model Version II: A Theoretical Framework for Educational Game Development”. Association for Educational Communication and Technology 2006. Accessed May 2013. JSTOR: Educational Technology Research and Development, Vol. 55, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), pp. 51-77 Dick, Walter, Carey, Lou, Carey, James O. The Systematic Design of Instruction. Pearson (2005) Gredler, Margaret E. Learning and Instruction. Theory into Practice, Pearson (2005) Klopfer, Eric, Osterweil, Scot, Salen, Katie. “Moving Learning Games Forward”. The Education Arcade Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009. Accessed May 2013. http://education.mit.edu/papers/MovingLearningGamesForward_EdArcade.pdf TEDTalks: Bringing One Laptop per Child to Colombia. Video recording. TED.com 2008