Intel's marketing manager for South Africa, Ntombezinhle Modiselle, wants to bring games into local classrooms and she's using volumes of research to prove that it's a good idea.
"Today's learners are the gamer generation. They have grown up with technology and social networking. That's why it's only natural that today's more tech-savvy educators are recognising the potential of using games as a teaching device in their classrooms," said Modiselle.
At a small school in Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal, teachers use Kinect to get children physically involved with each other and their lesson with creative gaming exercises. Likewise, in Atlanta, Georgia, ninth grade physics teacher John Burk uses Angry Birds to teach his students the laws of projectile motion. Burk says that Angry Birds is perfect for this because it gives student a chance to see the science implied in a colorful way.
Burk said recently on his blog that — within a 30-minute period — students understood "the two big ideas of projectile motion: the horizontal component of motion is constant velocity, while the vertical component is constant acceleration."
There are plenty of other s examples of schools that teach children including Quest to Learn in New York City; research about games and education conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education involving three classrooms in Boston; and many other studies and pilot programs using games.
While Modiselle really is convinced that classrooms need to start using technology to better teach children, she is also the first to say that games are not a replacement for good old fashioned teaching. Games and technology are enhancements to the existing system.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not for a moment suggesting we should stop reading to our children. But my point is this: technology offers parents and teachers a new way to enrich our children's skill sets and help prepare them for a global economy," says Modiselle. "I don't want technology to take over the classroom. But there is no doubt that it can provide our teachers with a useful tool to be used to enhance learning and benefit the students who need it most. And if everyone has a little fun along the way, that’s fine too!"