Bill Gates: Why ‘game-based learning’ is the future of education
“Teachers no longer have to wait for the unit test to find out if they’re kids understand the material,” Gates said. “Teachers have not had these tools before. Fragmented standards that differ from state to state and district to district have made it hard for innovators to design tools to reach a wide market. The Common Core will help change that.”
The foundation’s idea is that in coming years, there could be a digital mall full of low-cost or free online games teachers could download to use with the entire class or individual students.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is make more robust the array of things teachers have access to at their fingertips that are aligned to standards, that are high quality, that engage kids though technology and let [teachers] be the orchestra leader, ” Phillips said.
It’s early in the development phase, and the foundation is still trying to figure out how to do this game-based technology well, Gates said.
The foundation will play a role in researching and developing this new technology, work that isn’t likely to be done at the federal or state level.
“It’s definitely going to make a contribution, ” Gates said. “Motivation is such a huge part in what ends up differentiating student outcomes. Everyone has the ability to do fantastic work at a high school level. It’s just, without the right teacher and the right motivation, you don’t always get there.”
The Gates Foundation has given Georgia at least $500,000 to help teachers meet the standards of the Common Core and is continuing its other work, mainly around the construction of a new teacher evaluation system.
Gates said states are now doing the “hard work” of implementing new evaluation systems, and in some cases they are not providing enough resources to ensure the new systems are properly introduced. That includes retaining important elements such as student feedback and peer evaluators.
“We’re trying to encourage the states to put the resources in, even if it is a few percent of the payroll, ” he said. “If you’re going to do it, it deserves to be done well.”
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