tom starke

Like so many choirs around the world, it’s been more than a year of virtual work-arounds. Both Bruce and Whistler Singers director Alison Hunter relied on guidance from the BC Choral Federation early in COVID-19, and researched everything from air ventilation systems to various digital software that would allow them to continue meeting in some form—and they did. Barbed Choir met on Zoom for a period, with Nedelak providing the score on guitar, while participants sang from their respective spaces. The children’s choir did the same, except with Bruce and pianist Allyn Pringle together in the same room, as the kids followed along at home. The Whistler Singers, meanwhile, also shifted to online rehearsals and had to get creative for its popular, long-running Christmas Eve Carol Service last year, filming the songs from Hunter’s backyard and presenting it entirely online for the first time.

In 2020, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology found that the nation needs to create the STEM workforce of the future. One of the reasons students drop or switch out of science, technology, engineering and math programs is because of the difficulty of introductory courses such as calculus.The University of Oklahoma has developed a calculus game that can help students succeed in calculus. Research has shown student mastery of calculus increases when using a purposeful designed learning game, such as Variant: Limits - another calculus game that was developed at Texas A&M University.

tom starke

2. They provide experiential learningTeaching students 21st-century skills, such as creative problem solving, is important for the future workforce, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Games such as DragonBox Algebra, where students solve math problems in a fantasy environment, can help students master skills such as critical thinking.In games such as Civilization, players can be a civic leader and direct the prosperity of nations. In ARTé: Mecenas, learners can become members of the Medici family and become patrons of the arts and successful bankers. Students learn through doing and can gain skills and knowledge through experiential learning that might not be gained in traditional classrooms.

tom starke

3. Players learn from failureGames are a natural way to allow students to fail in a safe way, learn from failures and try again until they succeed.

tom starke

Some games, like Burnout Paradise make failure fun. In the game, players can crash their cars - and the more spectacular the crash, the higher the points. This allows players to essentially learn from their mistakes, correct them and try again.

The late video game theorist and author Jesper Juul wrote in his book, “The Art of Failure,” that losing in video games is part of what makes games so engaging. Failing in a game makes the player feel inadequate, yet the player can immediately redeem themselves and improve their skills.The new rule took effect Sept 1, 2021.

From my standpoint as a video game designer and scholar who specializes in game-based learning, I don’t see a need to limit video game play among students during the school week. Instead, I see a need to expand it - and to do so during the regular school day.Video games are one of the most popular mediums of our times. One estimate shows that by 2025, the global gaming market will amount to USD 268.8 billion annually - significantly higher than the USD 178 billion it is in 2021.

The money spent on gaming does not just facilitate a virtual escape from the real world. Scholars such as James Paul Gee, a longtime literacy professor, have repeatedly shown that video games can be used to facilitate learning in the K-12 classroom. Education writer Greg Toppo reached the same conclusion in his critically acclaimed book, “The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.”A long history

Chris Jones
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