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Gaming proves effective in teaching morals in UAE schools

Khaleej Times 2019-09-11 09:46:29

UAE schools are using interactive online games to teach moral education and it's proving to be a huge success as seen from a trial run.

The Moral Education Programme (MEP) - launched by the Education Affairs Office of the Crown Prince Court, Abu Dhabi, in 2017 and conducted by the Arc Skills - aims to promote moral values among UAE youth.

A recent trial across six schools has shown how gamification can enhance the way the youth learn important universal values.

About 400 pupils in Grade 7 played an online game - with interactive quizzes - which took them to an alternate world of superheroes and super villains. Through this game, they learnt topics ranging from making good decisions and responding to harmful situations to first aid, crime, trade, travel, communications and globalisation.

Students at GEMS Westminster School in Sharjah are among those who took part in the trial.

 "Once selected to participate in the gamification of MEP, we as a school jumped at the chance to engage our students more creatively. Gamification changed the delivery of moral virtues, flipping how the topics were taught," Andrew Wilson, vice-principal of the school, told Khaleej Times.

"Students had to complete individual tasks independently, then collectively use earned points and virtue rewards to complete special missions in class, while demonstrating these positive moral virtues."

The lessons were fun, engaging, challenging and rewarding, he added. "Students learnt quickly how to be successful through collaboration. The success of this innovative programme can be attributed to our hardworking staff, whose willingness to explore and implement new strategies for effective learning provided our students with an interactive experience that they will not forget."

The other five schools who were part of the three-month-long trial were Avalon Heights World Private School, Abu Dhabi International Private School, Dar Al Marefa Private School, Atika Bint Abdel Muttalib School for Girls, and Umm Suqeim Model Girls School.

Students engaged with weekly online modules, which included reading activities and quizzes that taught them the core values of MEP.  They also worked as a team to strategise and win an online game without teacher guidance or intervention.

A total of 232 students participated in a post-assessment multiple-choice questionnaire, which showed that 98 per cent scored over 70 per cent.

Mohammad Al Neaimi, director of the Educational Affairs Office, Crown Prince's Court Abu Dhabi, said: "We are very interested in exploring the potential uses of modern technology in making learning fun and interactive, while at the same time deepening student comprehension of our Moral Education Programme.

"It was interesting for us to see how gamification helped enhance student engagement with our programme. However, there were a few challenges in the pilot, and we are interested to see how those could be enhanced further in the future."

How it worked

>Students played an online game that took them to a world of superheroes and super villains

>They learnt topics like making good decisions, responding to harmful situations, first aid, crime, globalisation, etc

>Each student had to complete a task independently

>The students then collectively use earned points and virtue rewards to complete special missions in class

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com

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