Are Multiplayer Games the Future of Education?

Are Multiplayer Games the Future of Education?
A new classroom approach tries to bring more competition into the classroom.
Melanie Plenda
Jul 11 2014

This intricate Maltese Falcon­-like story will unfold each day, over the course of semester, as a multiplayer game at Renssalear Polytechnic Institute in New York. It is being  designed as a language-learning exercise by Lee Sheldon, an associate professor in the college’s Games and Simulations Arts and Sciences Program. “Using games and storytelling to teach­—it’s not that radical of a concept,” says Sheldon. “It makes them more interested in what’s going on.”

Sheldon is a pioneer in gamification

Based on his own success, Sheldon went on to write the book The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game.

The reason it works, Lee explains, is that games themselves actively engage players cognitively, emotionally, and socially to keep them motivated to play.
In their paper Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?, Lee and his coauthor, Jessica Hammer, point out that games offer a rich and complex environment that demands experimentation, problem-solving and quick thinking.

some students just aren’t that into it either.
Juho Hamari and Jonna Koivisto of the University of Tampere in Finland have studied gamification extensively, and they’ve found that some students simply dislike competition.
“Similarly,” Hamari notes, “all students might not appreciate narratives and, for example, role-playing type of interactions.”

Once students enter the real world, bosses are generally short on hugs.
So how well does a gamified classroom actually prepare students for life after graduation?


Gamification in Education: What, How, Why Bother?

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