| Achong Tanjong |
THE Ministry of Education has been very serious in achieving the objectives of SPN21 by providing continuous professional development for its teachers and educational officers.
Dr Habibah Hj Sion, the Human Resource Development Assistant Director and Program Manager of the Media and In-Service Centre (MiSC) under the Ministry of Education, noted this yesterday in her opening remarks at a Game Based Learning (GBL) event held at the MiSC office at Citiesquare in Berakas.
The event, she said, celebrates another milestone in the transformation of the educational landscape of Brunei.
Over the past four weeks, 25 teachers and officers from the Ministry of Education have been involved in GBL training.
GBL is a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes and enhances student-centred learning. Generally, GBL is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply the said subject matter to the real world, she explained.
GBL describes an approach to teaching where students explore relevant aspects of games in a learning context designed by teachers. The teachers and students collaborate in order to add depth and perspective to the experience of playing the game.
Additionally, the participants yesterday experienced a game created by fellow participants, which will, effective today, go through two weeks of ‘play test’ at eight schools across the nation.
Dr Habibah later congratulated the participants and instructors for their commitment in wanting to learn and produce the game.
Meanwhile, a MiSC press statement stated: In the 21st Century context, digital games and games theory have widely been shown to be an effective medium for teaching and learning new skills and practices.
Pervasiveness of games authoring tools and access to digital media platforms by students and teachers makes GBL an important element in any 21st Century education programme.
While research has convinced teachers of the effectiveness of using games in the classroom, games are currently expensive and cumbersome for schools to adopt wholesale.
This is where the Ministry of Education of Brunei Darussalam has brought in relevant partners to collaborate and develop a social, play-enabled virtual classroom platform that allows schools to embrace GBL on-the-go.
The platform provides simple (and easy to learn) tools for teachers to build Mathematics games, Physics games or even more complex topics such as Economics in a 3D Virtual Environment.
A total of 25 teachers and education officers are involved in the training to initiate the programme. Eight schools and 16 teachers were selected by the Ministry of Education for this.
These schools will be the Centre-of-Excellence (COE) for GBL in Brunei. Additionally, nine officers from MiSC and Department of Schools, Ministry of Education, also attended the rigorous five-week, whole-day programme.
The aim of this beginner level training is to equip teachers with skills in gamification in pedagogy to better engage students in classrooms. Teachers were trained in cognitive skills, adopting industry best practices and the Problem Based Gamification techniques in GBL.
Creating games for different subjects and levels is a huge task, one that is made more challenging as gaming technologies and students needs are forever changing in this knowledge-based economy.
The Ministry of Education aims to continuously source for and provide the best in-class training programmes for teachers so that they can prepare our children for the future.
Piloting Game Based Learning is only the beginning, albeit an important step towards embarking on a large scale adoption of digital games as part of our teaching and learning.