Teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics subjects through fun and games

Coventry University Game Science (Applied Games) Professor Dr Sylvester Arnab speaking at the recent workshop in Unimas- CreativeCulture Project

KUCHING: Many would argue that games and play should never be mixed with education.
But a research group in Sarawak will beg to differ.

Coventry University Game Science (Applied Games) Professor Dr Sylvester Arnab says teaching should never be rigid and one sided communication in order to gauge students’ understanding.

“When the teaching method gets dry and rigid, students tend to be bored and lose interests. When this happens, the teacher will have to keep on repeating over and over to ensure the message gets across,” said Sylvester.

Coventry University is collaborating with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak through the CreativeCulture project, which aims to address educational challenges within the context of inclusive learning for learners from the rural parts of Malaysia Borneo. 

The project is funded under Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) UK and Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MoHE) under the NEWTON-UNGKU OMAR (NUOF) programme.

“Nothing beats hands on experience and this is proven. Imagine medical doctors going through their medical qualifications without any hands on experience. Or a chemical engineer who never mix chemicals other than theoretical information received from text book.”

“Physical experience helps students understands better. Now imagine if we put in games and play into teaching that subject,” said Sylvester.

Sylvester and his team in Coventry is working with the university to expand game and play in four other campuses.

To date they have also reach out to other parts of Europe, US and Trinidad and Tobago, which have seen improvement in teaching delivery.

The CreativeCulture project is aligned with the inclusion of Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education (STEAM), realising the potential of these subjects by enabling true innovation and new thinking through creativity.

Art and culture boost creativity and creativity leads to innovation, new thinking and moving beyond existing skills; all together are triggers and needed in the social transformation.

“We need to allow fun, playful, hands-on, socially and culturally grounded explorations of curricular topics during primary and secondary school to foster contextualised and deeper learning,” Sylvester added.

The CreativeCulture project will explore,and experiment the impact of arts, design and culture in enhancing creative thinking and development in both primary and secondary education.

Game design and computational thinking as an approach and instrument for fostering creative problem solving and transcultural practices in Malaysia.

“Art and Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century, so it is time that we go back to our roots and use games like congkak, hopscotch, hide and seek and even treasure hunt types of games to teach science and maths subjects,” said Sylvester. – dayakdaily.com