In her presentation at a TED conference, Jane McGonigal from the Institute of the Future (IFTF) mentioned a very interesting statistic. She said that people who play online games spend as much time gaming by the age of 21, as they would in class from grades 5-12 with perfect attendance (10,080 hours). Online games are where many of today's youth spend their free time and they're always connecting with people from all over the world. Gaming is constantly becoming more social, entertaining, and educational.
What interests me most about online games is how a person becomes so
motivated to play on their free time. How can we harness that motivation and
direct it at something specific? Imagine if teachers could give their students
a lesson that they could take home and play. If they enjoyed the lesson than
they would also enjoy practicing it. They could share it with friends and
interact with people in their class online. This educational gaming experience
would be very similar to the online games that people play now. The games
attract and retain the attention of students, build on complex cognitive
processes, facilitate a positive attitude toward studying, and create the
motivation to learn new things. Of course we have all had boring classes at
some point, but today, youth are being exposed to very fast moving technology.
I feel that if we as teacher-candidates and teachers don't stay connected with
what's "new," the students will look back and say, "School was
Therefore, I believe we have the opportunity and challenge to be innovative.
If we can learn to implement lessons using technology in this capacity, we can
improve the learning environment and enhance our pedagogical practices. After all, making classes more fun and
interactive would be... fun for everyone!
Check out the video below! It's Jane McGonigal's presentation for TED.com. I think it's amazing how she analyzes the positive influences video games have on people: