“Game Based” Learning

With new technology comes new distractions. It’s easy for students to get side tracked from homework or listening to the teacher because their phone is lighting up. Or maybe their mind is on that level of a video game they need to beat. The style of living has changed but should the style of learning? The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it would invest $20 million in a variety of new teaching tools. One is ‘game based learning’.


The Foundation is considering this new style of teaching firstly, because students are enthusiastic about gaming. The idea,  of the Gates foundation and several different teaching outlets, is to take that enthusiasm into the learning sphere. There are several motivators of video gaming that can be utilized inside schools to encourage learning. One of the goals of the Citizen Sort research project is to analyze the motivations for playing games involving science. Motivating factors are widespread, however general has suggested that winning, rewards and instant gratification are some of the main reasons to incorporate gaming into education. The idea is to use what students already do, video games, into something they are usually less interested in doing-school work.


Educational game play has another feature as well.The video games usually record progress and results. The game provides an instant record of what each student knows well and what may need work. Educational game play has the potential to improve student results and learning. The results from a video game can create a more specific learning structure for students: focusing more on what needs work and a little less and what is already well understood.

Citizen Sort

Citizen Sort has several different research goals. Firstly, to help scientists with classification tasks and secondly to help information scientists analyze the role of motivation in science. The games do have educational features for both students and adults. The games, especially Forgotten Island and Happy Match! are based on questions that scientists need to classify the species. By playing the Citizen Sort games-users will also learn about classifying, different species, characteristics and important distinguishing factors.

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