Gamification of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education

Photo by Christina Morillo

 

Our educational system, as well as the way our society has evolved, has conditioned people to become more disinterested in science and technology education. Fewer individuals desire to study engineering and mathematics, which I strongly believe will be a major issue in the future.

 

In fact, many governments have already identified this issue and started working on it for quite some time.

 

Social media platforms have influenced our attention span and modified the way we receive information. Fewer people are reading books. Some merely read the headlines of articles and may skim through a portion of the piece before quitting halfway through.

 

In fact, it is recommended that content creators limit their pieces to no more than three paragraphs and no more than 500 words.

 

Video commercials must be no more than one minute long and must be able to capture people’s attention within the initial three seconds.

 

Professional development books are increasingly shorter, and many are encouraged to pepper pages with condensed summaries throughout the book, which is why the very popular Idiot’s Guide series have those little summary pop ups every few pages.

 

This loss in attention changes how information is collected and consumed and, as a result, affects how teaching and learning take place.

 

How often has your focus wandered during a meeting or a conference, and a phone check has become the norm? Most things receive only a fraction of my attention.

 

Students who listen while texting divide their focus between where their bodies are and where their brains are. The most recent adaption of short attention span instruction may be found in videos that are now available on Tik Tok and Instagram.

 

There is only one notion, one idea, and one instruction and no reading required, which is why these social media platforms are huge hits with the younger generation.

 

In a recent ranking survey done by an East Asian country, they ranked South Korea has having the best mathematics education system, followed by Singapore and the third place goes to Japan.

 

This East Asian country used to consider themselves as the best in providing mathematics education, but they’ve determined that their ranking has fell. They considered this a major issue and are putting their best people to work with the private sector, to develop a proposal to rectify it.

 

Still, research is being done by the best to further improve their position and one of the latest ideas is to introduce gaming to teach science, mathematics and programming.

 

I saw the latest research on teaching with games, and it allows players to immerse themselves in a Role-Playing Game (RPG) with attention-grabbing storyline that’s paired with beautiful graphics. Players will be able to solve interesting puzzles and fight fantastic battles with enemies throughout the game, and somehow all these actions are performed by solving programming scenarios.

 

By the end of the game, you are supposed to be able to understand the logic flow of programs and how to sew together the different syntaxes to achieve your desired programming outcomes.

 

It’s really quite fun and research is being done to quantify its relationship to improving users’ programming proficiency while keeping their attention on the game.  I think that the research results should be released in about two to three months’ time.

 

I believe that within a few more years, we will no longer need to type syntaxes in order to program. Long gone will be the days whereby you’ll feel cool to be able to type in long strings of words, press “Enter” and then strings upon strings of neon green colored fonts on black background scrolls endlessly down the computer screen. Think Matrix opening and ending scenes.

 

Anyway, if you think that’s cool, you’ll most likely might be considered as outdated by the younger generation.

 

Graphical programming is unquestionably on the rise, and more parts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will eventually be merged with programming languages, making it easier to program in the long run.

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