Games are inherently engaging – children, adults, kittens and chimps, all play to learn and have fun – and they have been a part of human culture throughout history. Philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates and Dewey have spoken of experience-based learning and how it creates an environment where students thrive by interacting with the curriculum in a meaningful way. Simulations, games, role-plays, case studies, scenarios, multi-media presentations, encounter groups are examples of this learning style (Cameron, 2008). Children of the new millennium are growing up in a world of accelerating technology, full of smart-phones, laptops, IPods and a seemingly endless stream of information on the internet. It is not unusual for tech-savvy kids to multi-task their homework, social media and music. The comment is often made that screen-based media have created a cohort of learners not easily engaged by traditional methods and teachers are looking for new ways to engage students. Young people are looking for meaningful ways of relating to what they are learning, no longer content with traditional ‘book learning’.
Robyn Hromek (Honorary Associate, The University of Sydney, Australia)