What if school was like a video game?

by Krishna Rammohan

How schools should be teaching the next generations of change-makers and go-getters.


Today (as of 2015) it’s a complete joke to bring school and video games into the same sentence. Generally school tends to be educational, dense and tedious whereas video games are euphoric and immersive.

Immersion is something school generally lacks, however video games do a great job in doing this. When playing video games, like the commonplace Mario Kart or Minecraft, we tend to get lost in our own little world. In racing games like Mario Kart, for example, driving is so involved that it feels like driving in real life. This is immersion taking place in many of our lives. This sense of deep concentration and involvement is something we need to implement in other places. Especially in schools around the world.

How?

To bring immersion to the classroom, students must learn by doing.

Today we have a variety of art courses in most schools that naturally follow the idea of learning by doing. In a pottery for example, students can escape into their own world and create amazing sculptures and ceramics. It may seem comical to imagine this but if that same class were to only learn pottery through notes, lectures and presentations, far more students would have trouble understanding the concepts of pottery.

In my life I am fortunate to have a range of excellent engineering courses in my high school. Through the courses, I’ve learned many useful skills including breadboarding for temporary circuitry and CAD for modeling in three dimensions.

My boxy “Human Powered Tesla Roadster” I made in freshman year (w/ Autodesk Inventor)

Learning by doing is a philosophy that schools around the world should take note in. Nonprofit organizations like Khan Academy and STEMs For Youth have already been implementing new forms of teaching and interactions with their students. This is a critical point because every student learns in different ways. The majority of students can’t learn solely off of simultaneously taking notes off of a powerpoint whilst listening to a teacher yammer about something completely different. This is such a convoluted way of teaching yet it’s the current system and has been carried on for way too long. Times have changed and it is critical that schools need to be more understanding of the real, ever-changing world we live in.

So What?

If we continue teaching the next generations of students through methods that lack creativity and immersion, by 2018 there will be a lack of 3 million skilled workers. Better teaching for the generations of tomorrow is a critical step as more jobs are requiring higher level education as well as an increase in STEM-related jobs. If that continues, in another 10 years there will be $400+ billion dollars loss in GDP. The lack of proper education can lead to countless issues such as outsourcing jobs, having lower wages, and getting the country into future depressions. As well as all of this, we need to solve the overused questions of “Why am I learning this” and “When am I ever going to use this in real life.” Current school systems shun reality from the school environment and it is getting out of hand.

Answer

To the main question “What if school was like a video game” I would conclude that it would be a totally different experience. It would be enjoyable yet challenging, as it should be. More students would keep their heads high and they would be up for the challenges they would face in their future. Everything around us, especially technology, is changing so quickly and education systems around the world simply aren’t keeping up. If we want the next generations to be epic, we need to make our current education system epic.