Category Archives for "Higher Education"

Jan 06

Video Games as an Emergent Learn and Play Concept

By Reezal Rosli | Higher Education

Video games are interactive mediums of entertainment that are now accessible through simple means via smartphone, console, or computer. With the advancement of technology over the past decade, video games have undergone great technological enhancements that can simulate varying experiences of entertainment to an almost uncannily realistic proportion.

With the emergence of new video game titles and consoles released every year, the video game industry alone makes billions in revenue annually with a significant increase of 7.3% in 2019 which amounted to US$148.8 billion. With the demand for video games coming to a rise, more video game developers are emerging along with multiple new forms of job opportunities in the game industry. Even the technology used for video games have become so advanced in replicating realistic elements so much so that it can be applied to various multimedia such as special effects for film, medical simulations, aeronautical simulations and even classroom education.

Although video games have been viewed as “distractions” that could potentially jeopardize a student’s academic performance, there are emerging video games that blur the line between education and entertainment. This convergence is finding its way in the mainstream of education  as it is being introduced into the classroom.

With video games being accessible through the necessity of a smartphone, it can be difficult for young students to regulate their time spent on video games rather than academia. Despite the discouragement against avid video gaming due to its addictive and socially disruptive nature, video games do take credit for expanding most of a youth’s general knowledge and particularly the use of English for a non-English speaking person. Most video games have a range of elementary to intermediate forms of language that the player must understand and navigate through in order to play the video game, which people subconsciously register and learn as they interact more with the game. A non-English speaking youth is more inclined to practice or learn English more effectively through the means of video games rather than in a classroom setting, why is this so?

A teacher who may or may not have English as her main spoken language can be trained to teach students to expand their understanding and usage of English.  A video game, on the other hand, may take an entire team to develop with every person specialized for every aspect of a video game. Two entirely different fields that share a similarity in the outcome of effective learning. It is observed that we are more inclined to understand and appreciate something that is entertaining and interactive rather than to just receive information and understand. How effective will a typical classroom setting be in the years to come as education continues to evolve? The concept of learn and play is now being applied to classrooms globally as it is much more effective for cognitive learning among youths.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced quarantine procedures throughout the world, schools have been physically closed but accessible through online means while the video game industry continues to thrive and flourish more than ever. Students now participate in their classrooms through online sessions with their peers as this new form of teaching is normalized in the phases of the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Video games as well have noticeably taken a rise in interest among the public as more people are driven to boredom in the seclusion of isolation. Video games have given a platform for the public to interact with one another while adhering to social distancing practices, just as much of a platform for entertainment in such times. While online learning has helped students cope with their academic program, it can be observed just how in constant change the setting of a “classroom” is throughout time; as it was with rows of chairs and tables in a classroom, now its rows of boxes with muted microphones and turned off cameras on a computer screen.

Having piqued the interest of youths in the vocation of video game development, higher education sectors have now made “Video Game Development” available as a legitimate academic course. As is demanded of the criteria in game development, I.T and art/design-based skills are expected of one who wishes to delve into the industry. The demand for programmers, 3D animators and modellers, and digital artists have seen a rise in the video game industry and retains a sustainability for individuals with such skill sets as these skills may not only be applied in the video game development field. However, with many passionate game developers releasing hundreds of new games on multiple app-stores everyday, the game development scene is a competition that mostly well-known game developers are in the lead of.

The possibility of incorporating video games into education is not far from seeing reality as it is already being practiced. In the year 2020 alone, the world has gone through dramatic changes of the traditional education delivery approach. So, what’s stopping the idea of gamifying education that can drastically change the outcome of effective learning?

Jun 04

Three Things I Learned about Millennials

By Norrizan Razali | Higher Education

In my role as an adjunct faculty and program directors at a number of educational institutions, I interact with many millennials. I also have children who are millennials. Through these interactions, I have noted some interesting attributes about millennials.

Much has been written about this generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s who is also known as Generation Y. A Time story in May 2013, titled “The Me Me Me Generation,” for example, begins: “They’re narcissistic. They’re lazy. They’re coddled. They’re even a bit delusional.”

However, this article addresses millennials’ characteristics from a different vantage point. In the context of education, it can bring a lot of benefits to understand millennials and leverage their traits. This also serves as a means to connect with them, engage them and facilitate their discoveries about conducting a safe and secure online presence.

Three characteristics are particularly worth sharing as they have implications for educators.
They are highlighted here with the main aim of identifying appropriate approaches for engaging millennials in the education context. This article focuses on millennials as multitaskers, the selfie generation, and instant validation seekers.



Without over generalising a whole generation, millennials do appear to be obsessed with uploading, editing and communicating activities on their hand held devices. They do all these different tasks briskly. They are obviously multitasking pros; so it seems.

Multitasking actually has its advantages and disadvantages. There are benefits for certain tasks. The ability to switch between different projects can also stimulate creativity, keep boredom at bay, or even be a source of inspiration. It can be an asset and a liability. They are switching between tasks and not giving fullest attention on a specific task.

Millennials multitask best on social media where they can fully exercise their netizenship. The multitasking skills seem to be confined to digital platforms. They don’t necessarily multitask well with other tasks such as handling multiple projects.

The expeditious manner with which they multitask often compromises the quality of the output. On social media, for instance, the language use is simplified and casual with often very little attention given to accuracy.

How educators can benefit from millennials’ multitasking:

Teaching approaches that infuse social media can excite and engage millennials. It is already a common practice amongst many progressive educators to post assignments on social media. This is a often a good basic start.

During the recent Malaysian election pre polling day, my 23 year old son gathered on Twitter over one hundred responses in less than 20 minutes to his quick pulse survey on whether netizens would go out to cast their votes. Sharing and gathering their views and administering a quick survey on related topics using Twitter are two simple yet exciting tasks that can be performed on social media.

Other examples are infusing an app to uplift a certain classroom activity as opposed to sticking to mundane lectures. Motrain and 75 Tools For Creative Thinking are examples of apps that can be applied to a variety of topics.

The more significant consideration for educators is to use this platform to raise students’ consciousness of language accuracy. This will ready them for a more formal environment of work where they are expected to use formal and accurate language.

Social media is an excellent platform to monitor and track multiple project status. Since millennials are always present online, they will not miss out the reminders and status updates for their multiple projects that are put up online.


The Selfie Generation

Their constant quest to take photos of themselves has granted millennials the label, the selfie generation. Their selfies are lamented, among others, as symptoms of narcissism, self empowerment, self esteem and building an online presence.

How educators can benefit from the selfie generation:

CBS News makes interesting suggestions on digital profile. These suggestions can be shared with students to shape their thoughts on the importance of initiating and maintaining a positive online presence. Those high quality selfies can be collated to narrate different periods of development such as important events during school years, higher education, internship, volunteerism and others. Educators can turn millennials’ incessant online presence into a digital profile project which helps students to initiate their online profiles. The profile will be a dynamic one that grows as the students progress in their education and graduate into the employment market. A local MARA residential school in Taiping, Perak has already initiated this for their 11th graders entry into higher education institutions.

As part of the coursework activities, educators can encourage students to take photos as a visual record of their activities which are shared on social media. The whole class can access this database as evidence to be incorporated in their projects.


Instant Validation Seekers

Millennials might very well be the Like Button Society. They crave for instant verdicts for every post. The number of views, likes, and comments under two seconds is crucial. Millennials need to feel like what they are doing is important and that they are on the right track. Equally significant is the ever growing number of followers.

So millennials are motivated by the number of likes, comments and followers. It’s their lifeline supplying oxygen to sustain their existence in cyberspace!

How educators can benefit from instant validation seekers:

To connect and engage students, educators can infuse the sense of satisfaction in the learning process the Like Button Society way. Millennials expect to hear their importance in a role and want to be acknowledged instantly and the acknowledgement must be made publicly preferably online. One technique is by gamifying the online project status updates through the milestone rewards with badges incentives and recognition programs. Validation, with likes and comments from team-mates and others outside the team, adds another level to the recognition scheme.

I close with some cautionary notes. Something more interesting will eventually come along and that there will be shift in how millennials will conduct themselves online. What makes educators relevant today may make them dated tomorrow. Always be prepared for that shift. Get constant insights on how digital natives are communicating online. Watch out for the Gen Zers!