Much like life, the world of educational gaming moves pretty fast – so it’s on us to stop every once in a while to reflect on all the trends we’re seeing impact our industry. Still with me?
(Image source: Giphy)
80s movie nostalgia aside, our spin on Ferris Bueller’s iconic words remains true – in our 16-year history of making games for learning and social impact, we’ve seen game-based learning transform from what was once a niche concept into a powerful learning impacting the lives of millions of players. Of course, this evolution is in no small part the result of a multitude of EdTech, commercial game development, and other technology trends – today, we’re sharing a closer look at some of the many influences set to impact the game-based learning industry of today (and beyond!)
According to experts like Dan Ayoub, general manager of education at Microsoft, AI is set to play a major role in the future of education – but how will educational game developers like us incorporate machine learning into educational games? Though nascent, we’re already beginning to see signs of how AI will be integrated into the learning games of the future – from enabling adaptive learning in real-time, to automating routine tasks like grading, and even helping to level the playing field and ensuring that learners always have access to the support they need, even beyond the classroom.
Further reading: Educational Games and AI
As an educational game developer, ensuring our products are accessible to all learners is a top priority for our teams. And as we do our part to ensure our upcoming games are designed with player accessibility in mind, we’re also using platforms like our blog to highlight innovations in assistive technology – a vital, yet under-discussed segment of the EdTech landscape. From hardware peripherals like Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller to mission-based organizations like the AbleGamers Charity, there are a host of ways that assistive technologies are enabling the disabled to participate in game-based learning.
Further reading: Assistive Technology and Game-Based Learning
Cloud gaming has arrived – and just like the introduction of comparable media streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, the tech is poised to radically transform the way we consume game content. For those new to the term, cloud gaming refers to platforms like that enable users to play games via a remote server rather than their local machine – that is, rather than installing a game directly to a console or computer prior to playing, the game itself is streamed via the internet to the player’s device in real-time. Some of the benefits of cloud-enabled educational gaming include the ability to play high-fidelity gaming on low-cost devices, along with enhanced collaborative learning experiences – however, the technology brings with it some classroom-specific challenges, as well.
Further reading: Cloud Gaming in the Classroom – What Educators Need to Know
Recently, the use of digital games and virtual reality as a tool to support health outcomes has grown increasingly popular – largely the result of hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in organizations such as MindMaze, Akili Interactive, and others. As a leading educational game developer, we’re simply fascinated by the rapidly growing intersection of video games and digital medicine – from the gamification of health and wellness, to video game prescriptions, virtual reality treatments, and more. Folks interested in learning more are also welcome to check out our article dedicated to exploring the use of video games as a tool for mental health treatment and advocacy.
Further reading: Games as Digital Medicine
Rounding out today’s list is esports – that is, competitive, organized video gaming. And while the concept of playing video games as a “sport” may seem strange to some, it’s simply impossible to ignore the impact that esports is having on the games industry at large – as well as colleges and high schools across the country. Participation in extracurricular esports programs can be an excellent way to help students cultivate social emotional skills, foster healthy habits, create college pathways, and more – engaging, motivating, and challenging students in contexts otherwise inaccessible within typical classroom settings.
Further reading: Esports EDU: Competitive Gaming in the K-12 Classroom