Game competitions are an important source of social and sporting activities for young people and many schools now organise regular games for their pupils. Children are naturally drawn to competitive games and often find that friendships are made over the sport. A key issue here is that games encourage learning and development not only for individual players but also as a team-building exercise for the school. This article discusses a few considerations to help with game design and development.
There are a number of considerations when designing and creating school games and competitions. Firstly, the whole school needs to be involved in the process. School committees need to consider how they want to benefit from the competitions, drawing up strategies and determining the format and competition rules. Second, young people need to understand why the games are being organised and why they will be judged. Young people learn by participating and winning, not simply passing exams. These skills will stay with them throughout life and form part of their everyday education.
Thirdly, the winning school-based competition must have some level of public visibility and recognition. Public recognition can come in many forms, from a newspaper ad to local magazine promotion, to naming the winning school in a competition paper. This is usually a factor for national and international high school competitions and is also likely to be a prerequisite for entering the University of Nairobi (UON) or University of Cape Town (UCT).
One of the biggest events that shapes young people’s views of how sport and physical activity should be conducted is the school games and exercises. School sports, whether they are games or physical activities, need to have some level of recognition and publicity if they are to be successful. The whole school district in Sendai is now getting behind the sport of school football, in particular the game of soccer. This is part of an integrated programme begun at the end of last year, the main aim of which is to increase the participation rate in school games and exercises. As Sendai is located next to the Indian Ocean, the ocean-side breeze provides ideal conditions for energetic sports such as football. In fact, the game is even better in the hot, humid conditions of the Indian Ocean.
Some schools have already started introducing sport into the curriculum, such as basketball, tennis and cricket. Many schools have invested heavily in modern technology to incorporate game based learning into their teaching scheme. Video analysis, computer aided performance assessment and computer based coaching are just some of the improvements that have been made in the past decade. Some schools have introduced smart board based games, using touch screen technology, in order to provide an interactive experience for the students.
These ideas demonstrate the continuing growth of the science of learning and the continued attraction of students to non-traditional methods of education. The integration of activities in the curriculum is not the only way in which schools are incorporating video games into teaching schemes; there is also the use of audio visual devices to reinforce the lessons. In one innovative case, a smart board was used to present the result of a critical analysis of a recent school report. This innovative approach to teaching is just one way in which innovative thinking in the high school and college classrooms is being adopted.