The New Media Consortium. (2012). NMC Horizon Report 2013: The Higher Ed Edition. The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from

I chose to look at the report on Higher Education since I teach in the Post-Secondary sector. There were several of the trends that were discussed that would be applicable and helpful to trades training such games and gamification, tablet computing, learning analytics, and 3D printing. In response to the question “what can the Web do for me and my class that would otherwise not be possible?”, I am going to choose the games and gamification trend.

The two are different in that ‘games’ are designed to be educational in content and curricula (2013 Higher Education Report, p.5) and the students ‘play’ on or at their own time and space. Gamification aims at making more of a game out of  it by incorporating levels, strategies, and ranks. These will spark competition among the students and peak their interest, both to learn and to excel. There are already games like this online where players from all over the world can compete against each other and gain bragging rights.

Research has linked video games to the production of dopamine to learning to critical thinking to problem-solving to teamwork. (Ibid, p. 21). Gaming is being adapted to transform learning experiences. Khan Academy’s president S. Sinha asserts that games helps learners by providing them with real-time feedback that they may otherwise not receive (Ibid, p.23). And I think that is exactly why this is so well suited to apprenticeship training. The majority of the classes are male, and most of them already enjoy video games on the TV or on the phone. A well-designed game would immediately grab their attention and they would find themselves attracted to attempting tasks and solving problems that they currently dread because of the math component. Trigonometry would be replaced by geometry and they would be able to visually produce their solutions without having to touch their calculators.

There would be many areas of instruction in carpentry that games can be designed to simulate. Fractions and pieces of the pie and coins and paper money are just the beginning. Roof construction with its various triangles consisting of angles and sides would be extended to applications of cutting common, hip, and jack rafters with their ridge cuts, seat cuts, tail cuts, and backing bevels. This would be extrapolated to developing rafter angles and lengths for hexagonal and octagonal roofs. And then there is stair construction with carriages, risers, treads, landings, winders, curved stairs, and balustrades.

To develop a good game that works well will take a lot of planning and coordination between the trade experts and the technology experts. There will have to be trial runs and the bugs will have to be eliminated before the students get to ‘play’. How well the first one works will set the tone for the acceptance of the rest. The report sees 2 to 3 years for the time for adoption, so planning has to start soon. I think that if we can create ‘games’ that are interesting enough, then we will definitely advance the cause of blended learning for the trades.  The biggest challenge is to ‘convert’ the faculty from their old ways to the new world of digital literacy, which is less about tools and more about thinking. (Ibid, p.9)


Leave a Reply