Serious Games & the Future of Education

In a recent Forbes interview, Atari and Brainrush founder Nolan Bushnell explained that today’s serious games are being designed with brain science, which can possibly unlock our learning potential like never before.  Bushnell believes that humans can learn up to 10-20 times more efficiently through technology, and he feels that the world of education is finally ready for this important evolution.  In fact, he thinks that serious gaming will change classroom learning more in the next five years than any other concept has in the history of teaching.  That’s quite a statement.

Can serious gaming really transform our society as Bushnell predicts?  Here is our take on the future of serious games.

A Rebirth of the Educational SystemSerious Game | 3D Simulation

Even though serious games have proven their worthiness many times over in business, public schools have been hesitant to adopt this technology because of the inherent expense involved.  School systems across the country deal with shoestring budgets that force teachers to purchase classroom supplies out of their personal salaries.  Some areas are even busing kids 50+ miles a day due to closings and budget cuts, so it is not simply practical to expect the adoption of serious learning in the classroom today.

Several school districts have already started to seek private funding to take their classrooms into the 21st century, like the iPads for Education drive that took place in San Diego in 2012.  Some areas are seeking government grants or state lottery money to upgrade their technology as well.  The future of serious games will be directly tied to these movements since it can validate this technology at the household level.

Powerful (Yet Affordable) Hardware Options

Then again, serious gaming is vastly dependent on fast, affordable hardware and network accessibility nationwide.  Bushnell predicted that within five years, there will be numerous tablets and mini laptops available that almost everyone will be able to afford; and some of that vision is already coming true today.  A recent CNet review showed budget offerings from Google and Barnes & Noble breaking into their “Best Tablets” category, and competitors like Amazon and Windows aim to drive those price points down even further.

While the top electronics manufacturers continue to produce next-gen technology that is bigger, faster and more expensive in the United States, these same companies are already producing a number of budget models specifically for the European and Asian continents. As consumer demand continues to shift towards more affordable options, it will provide serious game manufacturers a standard platform to reach exponentially more customers.

A True Desire for Smarter Learning

At Designing Digitally, Inc., we believe that the future of learning is directly linked to serious gaming in more ways than one.  It will soon become a standard model of teaching inside our classrooms, within the workplace and even online for various hobbies and interests.  In fact, serious games and simulations will eventually transform almost everything we currently believe about learning.  The direct feedback through in-game metrics allows us to fine-tune a lesson plan for almost any type of learner, and that’s simply too powerful of a tool to be ignored much longer.

So when will this happen?  In many ways, it already has thanks to the popularity of games in modern society.  The Entertainment Software Association saw this trend emerging all the way back in 2008 when they discovered that over 67% of US Head of Households play video games.  Today, smartphones and tablets make gaming an even more popular option among children and adults alike, and serious games are being produced in record numbers.  It is only a matter of time before the world of educational learning is transformed forever due to this technology. To learn more about how serious games are beneficial in education, contact us today.