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AI Education & Funding: Game On, Grades Up? Gamification of Education

Students engaging with AI learning

The educational landscape is undergoing a dynamic transformation fuelled by the generation of digital natives and AI. To stay ahead in this changing environment, educational institutions need to embrace innovation and redesign their traditional approach. A simple step forward could be introducing more video games to schools. While extended screen time for students may be met with resistance, it is worth considering whether video games merit an opportunity in the curriculum. What are the positive and negative sides of bringing more video games to schools, and are there any EU funding grants to support entities working with AI in education?

Surprisingly, this practice is not as new as one might think. The beginnings of gaming in education date back to 1971 with the Oregon Trail game, a well-known educational computer game that gained significant popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. The Oregon Trail game simulated the journey of pioneers travelling from Missouri to Oregon in the mid-1800s. Players had to make decisions about supplies, rationing, and other challenges faced by the pioneers.  As shown in research, educators found the Oregon Trail to be an effective and engaging tool for teaching history and critical thinking.

Therefore, if video games proved to be successful already fifty years ago, why is their usage in the classroom sparking doubts among educators and parents worldwide? One significant concern revolves around superficial engagement. Students may prioritise chasing rewards over truly grasping the educational content, which could result in superficial learning experiences. Apart from this, the introduction of gaming might inadvertently perpetuate inequality, favouring students with greater access to technology. This dynamic can contribute to educational disparities. Additionally, the risk of students becoming overly focused on the gaming elements rather than the content means that learning could take a back seat to entertainment. The antagonistic voices also point out that excessive screen time among younger students is associated with poorer executive functioning and lower language development due to reduced interactions. As such, it negatively influences social and emotional growth, leading to increased risks of obesity, sleep disorders, and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

But what are the positive outcomes of video games in schools? Firstly, they contribute to improved cognitive skills, shaping aspects such as memory, attention, and spatial reasoning. A key advantage lies in their ability to promote problem-solving and critical thinking skills, with many games requiring players to navigate through complex challenges and make strategic decisions. Additionally, certain games necessitate multitasking, which is a valuable skill to possess. Multiplayer games, in particular, foster teamwork, a soft skill needed to excel in personal and professional realms. Beyond the interpersonal benefits, video games create an engaging learning experience, making educational content enjoyable whilst motivating students to actively participate and retain information. The adaptability of educational games allows for customised learning experiences catering to individual learning styles. As students navigate virtual environments in games, they gain practical insights and prepare for real-world challenges. Ultimately, video games contribute to the development of technological proficiency and digital literacy among students.

AI in Education and EU funding

There are a number of  EU funding mechanisms for entities active in the field of gaming in education, including: 

Feeling lost in this maze of EU funding. Don't worry, we understand. That's why we are here to help. We can help you navigate the maze of project funding, steering you away from dead ends, and guiding you to the treasure trove. Time to turn your project idea into a success story! Contact us today.


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