This past June we published a blog post entitled, “Can time spent playing online games help teens develop cultural competency?”  The post detailed shared interests between students in India and the United States, including multiplayer online gaming.  The blog invited education leaders to weigh in on this global teen phenomenon, and results are in from our quick survey, Digital Priorities and the Future of Multiplayer Online Gaming.

While only 25% of the professionals and educators responded that they participate in online gaming themselves, 58% believe that multiplayer online gaming is a good activity for young people. Educators appear willing to recognize that the level of engagement students demonstrate when involved with multiplayer online games is worth noting and perhaps channeling for positive impact.  One educator reflected that “The content of the experience/activity is of concern, [but] I believe the problem solving, creative thinking and language skill development can provide greater relevance and purpose for young adult learner, which may lead to enhancing their growth and development in technology-rich environments.”  

Interestingly, that same number feel that multiplayer online gaming could provide an even greater interaction, and thus educational opportunity, than a structured Skype conversation (such as the one offered by Ravi Unites Schools). “A deep established relationship could occur,” says one administrator, “however I believe to work it might need teacher interaction, reviewed or completed during schooling hours.   I think it is such a perfect way to reach kids where there are, because that is where the real learning takes place.”

When asked whether multiplayer online gaming could have a useful place in the classroom experience, educators did not hold back their views.  In addition to encouraging social collaboration and teamwork, problem solving skills, creativity, and an opportunity to share common interests, multiplayer online games could be used as an assessment tool -- a ‘gamification’ of assessment, as one participant called it. More expressed caution, including one who indicated “if there is a way to assess the educational impact on a student's learning, then yes. [However] those that are combative and foster unhealthy competitiveness and agitation can impact the child's entire day.”

Survey respondents felt there is potential for this type of gaming to increase cross-cultural competency. Beyond the 75% that responded affirmatively, those that responded with a specific reply felt that it depended on the game, content, and purpose.

The general consensus was that online gaming does have potential to be used for education purposes and increasing cross-cultural competency, and those responding indicated a trend towards seeking out an educational multiplayer online game for the students in their schools and classrooms to play.

The results were very interesting and trended towards favoring the involvement of multiplayer online games.  The survey gave us a window into the minds of educational professionals in the classroom and within administration positions.  

Here’s a link to the first blog post on multiplayer online gaming. What do you think about the survey results and potential for online gaming to be a valuable educational tool and method to increase cross-cultural competency?  Please feel free to respond with your comments.