What happens if you design your classroom like a video game?

Paul Anderson on classrooms as video games

Paul Anderson structured his class like a video game as an experiment. He wanted to see if changing the structure of lessons would increase engagement and results, which it did. But he also came up against a few issues. He discovered that giving students a lot of independence allowed some students to excel at their own pace, but others failed to motivate themselves, or went off-course in the wrong direction.

Paul also noticed that his students didn’t read as much during the class and considered this was because good teachers generally read the book for their students i.e. they present the information in the book in a more dynamic and personal way. This has made most students lazy so they’re not used to reading new information on their own.

Paul’s third observation is that students are social creatures and not machines and a school that automates the learning process with videos and tests is unlikely to appeal to a social animal.

Paul Anderson finishes by suggesting that teaching should move from a passive, teacher-centred learning environment to an active, student-centred learning environment with the teacher acting as a curator and mentor. He believes that critical to effective teaching is accepting and encouraging failure, which allows students to learn from their mistakes.

Classroom Game Design: Paul Andersen at TEDxBozeman

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