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5 gaming dynamics that truly engage students

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura
July 7th, 2014

From Angry Birds to Minecraft, gaming holds extraordinary potential for today’s students

gaming-educationGaming. It’s more than a buzzword in today’s schools, but it still sometimes carries a stigma–is gaming really an effective way for students to learn?

The answer, according to computer science teacher Douglas Kiang: Games are powerful motivators.

“As teachers, we need to learn how games do what they do, and how we make that into productive learning by using those game dynamics to accomplish our purpose,” Kiang said during an in-demand ISTE 2014 session.

Students frequently walk away from homework when it is too difficult, but difficult games are another matter–kids walk away from games when they’re too easy. Difficult games present a positive challenge for students. A challenging task “stretches” a student’s brain, and the more a person expects his or her brain to do different things, the more pathways that person’s brain will develop.

“Choice is a really important part of this equation, and gaming embodies choice–games are open-ended, and that’s part of the reason they’re so engaging for kids,” Kiang said.

(Next page: How gaming challenges students in positive ways)