Online study sites that encourage student collaboration are gaining in popularity as more students enroll in full-time or supplemental online courses. Another such site is ePals, which provides a safe online platform for teachers and students to share information and work together on projects.
Examining these sites from an education perspective and a gaming perspective provides valuable insight into the trend.
“From the education side, we see that there’s so much power in platforms [that are similar to] Facebook, [in] being able to not only reach the user in a platform that’s engaging but that reaches into all aspects of life,” Gatza said. “Facebook [is] really the space where the students ‘are,’ and engaging in those areas is definitely the right place to go, because they bring the students in and make learning more powerful.”
The gaming aspect attracts students as well, he added.
“Being able to know that a student can participate in this fun, competitive environment with very low risk” is appealing, Gatza said. “I feel that gaming in general has a positive impact, as long as it’s applied in the right way. Social games have a lot more power, because they allow people to connect to one another and solve things collaboratively.”
He added: “At the core, they’ve made studying for tests a fun social activity. It’s not about getting a right answer—it’s about being able to help each other.”
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