Generally, students rated their desires in the classroom highly. In the 2012 HSSSE, 83% of students placed a high value on learning and 82% were motivated to get good grades. Three-quarters of the students surveyed took pleasure in how well they did their work. However, they did not like having normal lectures every day; students enjoyed more interactive teaching methods, such as group work, discussions, and technology-based projects. The data presented shows that, for the most part, students are intrinsically motivated to learn and highly value their desire to work.
When compared to how students felt about actually being in the classroom, the results are more concerning. Fifty-four percent of students did not care about their school. Half of the students claimed that they were bored in school everyday and only 18% said that the boredom is caused by the subject matter. This leaves an alarming portion of bored students who find the material interesting, but the methods themselves uninteresting.
These findings present the main issue at hand: if students have a desire to learn and find the subject matter intriguing, but over half of them are bored, there must be something wrong with the traditional model of teaching. The HSSSE’s solution for this is to have teachers focus on their instructing methods, on their relationships with students, and on relating the material to real life.
One way that all three of these solutions could be addressed is by incorporating interactive media, such as educational video games, into their lesson plans. As readers of Ed Tech Roundup, you are probably aware that most students enjoy interactive methods of teaching, including use of technology.
A 2015 study by Mulqueeny, et al. introduced an educational video game to multiple classrooms and found high levels of student engagement when compared to traditional classrooms. They observed both types of classes and found that, while playing the mathematics game, students stayed on task 93.3% of the time, and while being taught through a traditional method, they only stayed on task 68.7% of the time. The gaming class also showed higher engaged concentration and lower boredom than the traditional class.
The stark contrast between the traditional teaching methods and technological methods demonstrate a need for a more interactive approach to learning. Immersed Games is an educational, independent video game startup whose plan is to create a game with the perfect blend of learning and fun. We want to help bridge the engagement gap and make the classroom a more enjoyable place. Our iPad app, Tyto Ecology, is our first step in this direction, allowing students to learn about ecology while enjoying themselves. In the future, we plan to release an online game, Tyto Online, where students and other players can interact and help solve problems in the virtual world.