Building a 21st Century Education System with Games Based Learning

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It won’t be news to most that the current education system has changed little since the Industrial Age, when the system was used to mass produce workers for factories. It is an extremely efficient, almost Fordist system. But the world has changed a lot since then. Games Based Learning could help bring the education system into the 21st century as well as skilling up children in a way appropriate to the world they live in.

In terms of equipping our youngest generation with the skills necessary to live and work in the 21st century, the current education systems are lacking. And on an even simpler level, the current system is simply outdated and does not reflect the world that children today live in. No wonder some children find it difficult to engage, especially when they have such an information-rich, colourful, technological world available to them outside of the classroom. The current education system is fantastic for making children easy to manage, but will it really produce the creative, innovative, problem-solving collaborators we need in the 21st century? Games based learning may not be the entire solution, but it may be part of one.

One of the main reasons that people are interested in games based learning is that it is so engaging and motivating for students. Games are second nature for many children. Jane McGonigal suggests that the average 21 year old has accrued over 10,000 hours of gaming experience, a similar amount of time to their length of school service (middle school and high school).

Games based learning could help modernise the education system in a more relevant, engaging and intuitive way to students. I am not talking about a huge revolution here. But, coupled with other changes, games based learning could bring the education system up to date in a way that reflects students’ life outside of the classroom and which is immersive, engaging and allows hands-on, tailored, experiential learning. These are the main things lacking from today’s systems and the very things that games are great at encouraging.

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