Herald: simulation and university games

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February 22, 2022 | 05:25 IST

Simulation and university games

Smitha Bhandare Kamat

I was pleasantly surprised when my twin child tried to swim. It was a combination of freestyle and breaststroke. I didn’t know how he picked it up. Well, instincts played a part, but there was more to it. Asked, he told me that he was inspired by GTA! Although I was personally against this particular game, due to the discouraging reviews it received, it made me reflect and recognize that where my preaching failed, this game influenced him to overcome his aversion to swimming. That’s not to say kids should play this game. Instead, I’m focusing on the silver lining.

As for my daughter, she has a chapter on probability in math, something we also had decades ago. I remember playing cards was taboo in my family. This chapter forced me to visualize maps and the possibilities of outcomes. It was a daunting task for me. Today you don’t need to have a physical deck of cards, a simple game of solitaire exposes the player to virtual cards in addition to being supposed to activate the mind, aid in decision making and be good for mental health.

The point I’m trying to make here is play, simulation is seen as an important pedagogical and andragogical tool. Children and adults can learn a lot when exposed to certain games. According to Backlund, Hendrix, Boyle and other researchers, playing games provides multiple benefits to learners. Not limited to just academics, but also behavioral, physiological, perceptual, cognitive, non-technical skills, etc. Research has shown that it has a positive impact on learning outcomes.

The pandemic has forced us to adopt an online mode of teaching and sometimes a more interactive virtual mode of teaching. However, outside of online classes, kids are usually glued to their gadgets due to restricted social interaction, blatantly consuming net content. The question is, what feeds these impressionable young minds?

Young minds need to be challenged, stimulated and nudged in the right direction. Subject-oriented simulation games must intervene. It’s time to move from a rote learning methodology that emphasizes memorization and is exam-oriented to a more application-oriented methodology.

Game Depository can be generated in various subjects where learners can be exposed to real-life scenarios where they have to apply their minds, find solutions, experiment, take risks, build, etc. This can then be assessed as part of the review module rather than relying on the anachronistic mode of questioning features, pros, cons, etc. concepts, leaving much to be desired. In the game normally there is no right or wrong answer, each learner is encouraged to be innovative and creative within the parameters of the subject matter. The result must be evaluated by both peers and teachers.

The game has found many global takers. Our teachers should also be encouraged to develop such game modules by providing them with the necessary training and support system. Unlearning, relearning is the way to go.

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