On July 24th, Mindgrub hosted the Baltimore Washington Tech Meetup. President and CEO, Todd Marks, gave a presentation ON Video Games “In” the Classroom. Todd, who is a former Howard County teacher, is very passionate when it comes to ways of improving the educational system in the United States.
Marks began his presentation by comparing the 150-year-old model of putting students in rows to today’s methods noting little to no difference between the two. Despite the fact that this generation of students is extremely tech savvy and technology is currently available to facilitate innovative improvements in schools. So Todd asked, ‘What is preventing schools to adapt with the times?’
Students have adapted to technology, so why haven’t the teachers jumped on board? Statistics show that the ages 45-65 only take up 5% of the gaming demographic, which includes the generation of leadership who are directing the curriculum. In today’s classroom, most students have a smartphone in their pocket and are using them to text, tweet, and post. What would happen if we could turn using a smartphone in the classroom into something positive and productive? “Gamifying” today’s education system is the answer and has been proven to work in other Asian countries, but we need the buy-in from the older generation to embrace technology to help change the system, and keep on top of technology adoption.
On the other side of the demographic of gaming, ages 13-25 makes up almost have of the gamers. These students are accustom to gaming and having the curriculum include educational games would be a step in the right direction to better engage our students. What is holding us back from creating a modern classroom? Almost all teachers who have been in their role for several years teach the same thing, the same way, year after year. There needs to be some sort of incentive for teachers to keep lessons interactive and reinvent, rather than lecture the same old material. Location based services, augmented reality, natural language processing and more are all part of the direction learning needs to go.
Other countries that are adapting quicker are surpassing us and infrastructure is keeping us from being on the cutting edge of education delivery. The good news is this change is happening, just at glacial speed.
If interested in the presentation, you can find it here.