Looking at Gaming to Increase Motivation in Students
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The 21st century is giving birth to a new kind of learner, a kind of learner like the educational system has never seen before. This learner is called the digital native –a child who has been born into a world of technology, innovation and access to infinite knowledge. Their brains are fundamentally different from any previous generation of learner, and yet the educational system at large has not adapted to nor accommodated this new type of student. In a world where everything is as fast as a tap, swipe or click away, digital natives long for deeper engagement, which is why they often look to computer and video games. Currently, the planet is spending more than three billion hours a week gaming (McGonigal, 2011). 97% of youth play computer and video games (McGonigal, 2011). For people born at the cusp of the digital era, circa 1980, by the age of 21, the average young American will have spent between 2-3000 hours reading books, and more than 10 000 hours playing computer/video games; this divergent statistic widens for those born after 1980 (McGonigal, 2011). How can the educational system compete with computer and video games? How can schools motivate and engage their students like gaming does? There shouldn’t be competition, but a marriage of seven key aspects of gaming. There are seven characteristics that make gaming so attractive and motivating. The educational system needs to look to: the work, feedback, collaboration, safety, positive emotions, accessibility and challenge within the context of gaming to bring back their students’ motivation and engagement. It is in gaming that the educational paradigm can be revitalized.