If something works, don’t change it.. It is a maxim applicable to any area of our lives. And in a certain way, education has applied it for decades. The question is whether the classic methods really continue to work, despite the many patches that have been put on it throughout the years. Computers in the classrooms, smart boards, group work, lower ratios in the classrooms or gamification. On the other hand, there are those who bet on introduce more ambitious changes, even at ages as early as childhood education. With the risks involved.
And even more so if we take into account that in order to apply changes in education, the results are not perceived until after a whiletime that can be lost or wasted by dozens of students who will have been Guinea pigs no positive results for them. But, on the other hand, if we do not change anything, how will we adapt the school curriculum to the changing society in which we live? For example. It is very easy to ban screens in class to avoid problems. But what will happen when those kids go out into the real world and run into those screens? It is not necessary to think about their future, in their day to day they will run into them.
The origin of education and pedagogy have been to give the children of today the necessary tools to use by themselves in society. Values, knowledge, standards and everything that they can use for their benefit and mutual benefit. But as we can see by looking at history, all that accumulation of knowledge has changed since its inception up to our times. Moreover, the values that were instilled in us are not the same as those that we will include in our children. Should we also educate them with old and partly obsolete methods?
Gamification is also classic
Set to demonize the new pedagogical methods that are announced everywhere and sacralize traditional methods, gamification should not collide with this premise. Precisely, children learn by imitation and through play. Game that can be played in the playground, outside the classroom or, why not, during school hours. The game amuses, entertains and can be used to learn. And all help is little when it comes to teaching the little ones in early childhood education.
One of the advantages of gamification is that any matter is susceptible to become a game. Even the most boring agenda you can think of. Popular science has taught us that it is possible to transmit complex issues to the general public through animations, cartoons, 3D images, allegories, comparisons and other narrative and audiovisual resources. Gamification also pursues that, make knowledge more digestible.
It is clear that it is not about turning the classroom into a playground in which spend all day playing. It is a very biased view of what gamification offers. But it is also clear that at certain ages it is not possible to give lectures in which the student is limited to listening, trying to understand and taking notes. Whether we like it or not, it matters capture the attention and motivate the student to learn. Especially in his early years of training.
The effort falls on educators
The main challenge to introduce gamification in education is to create the necessary content to teach. In other words, it is about translating knowledge and the school curriculum into activities that use elements of the game. The traditional master class has the advantage that it is easy to apply. Transmit the teacher’s knowledge to the student through a monologue. Interactivity is limited to questions and practical exercises.
But with gamification, it is necessary generate content in the form of practical experimentsdebates in which the students participate, dramatized performances by the students themselves, question and answer games, role playing games to learn a profession or professional activity, various competitions… In other words, current educational material offers tools for transmit knowledge to some extent, but to apply gamification pre work required by educators.
Besides, undermine gamification it is relatively easy if we do not pay attention. And it can make us fall into mistakes like play for playdistract the student from the true purpose of the activities, encourage excessive competitiveness if the game is not well managed, abuse concepts such as levels, prizes or points, which turns learning into achieving temporary bonuses that move away from the real objective, to learn.
Union make force
In debates around early childhood education or education in general, false dichotomies are often produced. Either gamification or classical education. With screens or without screens. Why not both? As I commented at the beginning of the article, in reality, the human being has used gamification methods all his life. Simply now they are included in a methodology with an Anglo Saxon name. The game has always been there.
Encourage participation constant of the student, already from early childhood education, carrying out varied activities or introducing the game in the classroom has its risks, but if it is done well, it also has its rewards. Gamification is not at odds with classical learning. It just shakes it up a bit to give it more dynamism, rhythm and variety. Unfortunately, we live in a time when stimuli are constant. And this affects how the student processes knowledge in the classroom. Turning your back on reality will not make that reality go away. The classroom cannot be a hermetic place isolated from the world we live in.
Just as knowledge evolves with new discoveries, the way of transmitting them must adapt to what the world around us is like and what the student is like, especially at an early age when curiosity is there. We just have to know how to “catch up” to teach as well as possible without losing the objectives shared with classical education. And tools like gamification can help us do this in a fun way.