We have reached a point in our lives that would seem impossible to previous generations, thanks to the technological improvements that have bettered our daily lives. We have also seen the rise of EdTech around the world during the last few years however most of those solutions are still lacking in most schools around the globe. It really disappoints me the fact that today’s teachers still use realia, photocopies, and plain books to teach Gen Z students, the so called “Digital natives”, who were born with a smartphone on one hand and a mouse on the other. A variety of issues are to blame for this situation.
The gamification of learning is a modern, student friendly, efficient way of teaching and deliving content. This approach uses the elements and characteristics of video games to transform teaching in a way that will greatly affect students' engagement.
Socrative is a tool primarily designed to evaluate the learner. The application (response system) allows the educator to create several kinds of quizzes: Multiple Choice, Right or Wrong, Brief Response, etc. Those quizzes are accessible by the tutor who has access to view the responses of each student (Kokina, & Juras, 2017). There is also another option called “Exit Ticket”, which provides a direct insight into the students' understanding of the main points of the course. (Tretinjak, Bednjanec & Tretinjak, 2015).
QuizUp is an application designed for IOS and Android devices where two compete in a quiz. This means that there is a need for an internet connection throughout the game. Initially, the user creates his or her own account, uploads an image that differentiates him from the other contestants and selects the categories of interest, thus giving the necessary meaning to the game.
There are a number of categories from which the user can choose, some of them are of educational content and others are simply less connected to the learning process. These categories include topics from history, technology, literature, science, geography, mathematics, business, film, and even video games. The categories are given beautifully and clearly for the user, while the database of available quizzes is huge, with new quizzes being added daily. It is worth mentioning the ability of the user to compete in two types of play modes. The Single Player Game is a mode where the player is playing alone, essentially struggling without an opponent. His goal is to advance as far as he can in the selected category. The second mode is called Random Opponent Game, where the player faces other players from around the world. Both players have to deal with 7 questions, gathering points according to the answer and the speed that the correct answer was given. Winner is the one who has collected the most points during the session.
One of the most popular and well-known tools for learning a language online is Duolingo. Duolingo is completely free, easy to use and makes it a lot of fun the acquisition of a new language. There is a variety of languages you can choose from, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Greek, Ukrainian, Welsh, Hungarian, Swahili, Korean, Romanian, Czech and Chinese.
How does it work?
Duolingo is a great example of a straightforward language app. It’s really simple to use. You set up a profile, choose your target language, set your weekly goals (only if you’re brave enough) and off you go! There is an option to ‘test out a language’ when you begin a new language. You can start with the basics or you can take an ‘entry test’ and let the app determine your fluency level.
The "Civilization" computer game series is a creation of Sid Meier,a well known digital video game producer and creator.
This War of Mine is an electronic video game developed by the 11 bit studios. The game’s background is inspired by the Yugoslav civil war and the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted four years in which approximately 5,000 mainly civilian civilians were killed (Kirkpatrick & Schiltz, 2016).
What makes it special is that, unlike the other games that put the user in the position of warrior, this game puts him in the position of a citizen and the way he experiences a warring conflict having survival as his main concern (Noack, 2014). The player is called upon to manage the survival of a group of citizens through organizing the distribution of available resources such as fuel, food, water and medicine in particularly difficult situations that affect the mood and vitality of each member until a ceasefire is declared.
The interaction required by the player does not stop only in pure survival and in finding resources, as he is asked to explore his / her own moral framework, being in charge of decisions and moves that affect the psychological situation and consequently the needs of the group handled. For example, he may decide to rob a couple of elderly people to save a member of his own team, but some of its members are so negatively affected by this choice to the point that the group can not function properly, leading some of up to suicide. The player is asked to walk in a stretched rope of balance and survival, experiencing horror, despair and the needs of people in war conditions.
Pedagogical background of the game:
the player is called upon to develop his / her ability to make decisions in the light of the ethical issues that arise. It creates practices interacting with the environment of the game and learns through its own actions by remodeling its choices according to the mistakes it makes (Auberger, n.d.). This War of Mine promotes reflection through the impact of achieving the goal of surviving, creating a sense of despair as the player's choices don’t affect the outcome of the war, as he is only tasked with the wellbeing of his team, a feeling experienced by any civilian who finds himself in the midst of a war (Toma, 2015). No matter what he does, people will lose their lives, and he is called upon to explore the point where the need for survival overlaps his moral and psyche.
The game is available for personal Computers, IOS and Android devices.
Auberger. (n.d.) This War of Mine. Retrieved November 7, 2017, by http://www.playful-pedagogy.org/this-war-of-mine.html
Kirkpatrick, J. & amp; Schiltz, S. (2016). Review - this War of Mine. Retrieved November 7, 2017, by http://www.e-ir.info/2016/02/07/review-this-war-of-mine/
Noack, R. (2014) This war video game is not about the shooters. It's about the victims.Washington Post. November 21.
Toma, E. (2015) Self-reflection and morality in critical games. Who is to be blamed for war? Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. 6 (1), 209-224.