I stayed for one extra day in Austin after SXSWedu ended. Four days of sitting down watching presentations made me want to just walk around the town. I also visited the SXSW Gaming Expo, hoping to score some educational games there.
Boy was I wrong. There was all sorts of cool games and playing going on, with virtual reality headsets and the like. But I couldn’t find anything related to learning. Well, there was one game, a Kickstarer-funded project called Classroom Aquatic. But I wouldn’t exactly call it a learning game. Take a look at the trailer so you see what I mean:
Avoid teacher’s and students’ gaze, look at other students’ papers to get answers, and throw erasers at people. Fun stuff for sure, but not quite what I was looking for.
Visiting the expo strengthened my assumption of education and hard-core gaming are still worlds apart. However, that doesn’t mean gaming wouldn’t have anything to give to education. Various elements can be extracted from games and used to gamify educational content, storylines and game characters can be reused, and innovative interaction mechanisms utilized.
It might be virtual reality headsets are entering the classrooms in the years to come.