Computer science students in Steve Engels' class developed educational video games and play-tested them with elementary and high school students from summer camps (photo by Geoffrey Vendeville)
It’s every high school student’s dream: playing video games instead of doing homework.
Steve Engels, an associate professor of computer science, teaching stream, predicts that one day games will not only replace traditional tests and assignments, but will do a better job teaching a range of subjects.
Games offer a number of advantages over paper assignments and tests, including immediate feedback, he says.
“If you have a lesson in game form, it tells you how well you’ve done, it allows you to retry it, which you maybe can’t do with assignments or tests, and you can do it again until you master it,” he says.
This summer, he's testing the concept with University of Toronto students who have been asked to develop games that trick students into learning some of the hard-to-teach topics on elementary and high school curricula: subjects related to science, technology, engineering and math.
The games by computer science students cover the basics of immunology, coding, optics and mitosis. Engels invited video game industry experts, teachers and grade school students, including groups from U of T’s Science Unlimited Summer Camp, to try out the games and provide feedback.
Read more about the student developed games at at U of T News