Generally speaking, active learning fosters far greater curriculum engagement than say listening to a ‘sage on the stage’ or memorizing stats from a textbook. Fortunately, modern technologies, specifically video games, are making this kind of immersive, hands on learning a greater reality. Game-based learning is enabling students to walk in the shoes of both real life and imaginary characters, empowering them to interact with content in an entirely new way.
Today’s video games are sophisticated and suspenseful. They provide lifelike graphics and scenarios that empower users to assume imaginative identities and immerse themselves into fantasy worlds. They captivate players’ attention and inspire them to keep playing time and time again. And let’s face it, they are fun. This begs the question, can this obsession serve a purpose beyond entertainment?
For those of us who are at Triseum and the LIVE Lab at Texas A&M, we can attest to the countless hours of research, collaboration and testing that go into our game development processes. And while all of the results and interactions during development lead us to believe we are producing impactful games, the ultimate testament to the effectiveness of our games comes from those on the front lines–the instructors and students who are interacting with our games as part of the teaching and learning experience. We recently had a chance to sit down with some of our users and their feedback was inspiring.
Word problems, also known as story problems, have long been used as a teaching tool in math. From the most basic addition and subtraction riddles to more complex algebra and calculus equations, story problems create relatable visual scenarios. Students must show that they can decipher the information they are given, understand the question(s) at hand, and pick the correct mathematical calculation(s) that will help them solve the puzzle.
Our year-long game-based learning validation study has inspired teachers worldwide who are interested in pursuing gaming in the classroom. According to the study, participating teachers agreed that ARTé: Mecenas and Variant: Limits had a positive impact on student engagement, motivation to learn and knowledge acquisition.