Unleashing the Educational and Economic value of Gaming

Bukola Akingbade is the founder of Kucheza Gaming, a Nigeria based startup creating Africa’s largest community of young gamers through a fusion of gaming, education and culture delivered in a non threatening and inclusive way. She shares her thoughts on the potential of gaming and education.

The games industry is currently a $152 Billion dollar industry with mobile games accounting for 45% of the global gaming market with $68.5 Billion. over 2.5 billion gamers around the world, we can expect video game platforms to continue developing in 2020.

During the lockdown, the Entertainment streaming and gaming industries are thriving. Platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime video, and Disney+ all report increased viewership. Online gaming platforms are also experiencing record volumes.

In Nigeria, based on the trends from app analytic platforms, an app like Zoom Cloud meeting which was not in the top 100 app list for Nigeria (March 1st, 2020) is now the 2nd most downloaded app (April 20, 2020). Over the past 3 weeks, we’ve seen a rise in virtual classroom and education app downloads in Nigeria from Microsoft teams, Google classroom to new apps like Ulesson and within gaming, there has been a surge in usage of existing downloads and new game downloads.

The lockdown is a new normal that has caused a change in our reality and people are starting to adapt in engaging and productive ways. Some schools have adapted better than others. For example, my kids resumed third term virtually today using Microsoft teams. Here they have classes with their classmates led by their teachers. For some parents, schools have not been able to adapt as quickly which creates a unique challenge for parents to become full-time educators alongside work and other responsibilities. 

As a parent myself, I find experiential activities important in these times because they are immersive in nature, foster creativity, help improve social interaction physically and virtually, and drive cognitive learning and retention.

Foundationally speaking though, any education system (primary and secondary) is meant to equip the next generation with the knowledge needed to grow its country’s digital, creative and hi-tech economy. The games industry is a huge contributor to these economies.

To succeed in the workforce of tomorrow, the children of today will need to be digitally confident and armed with an array of skills. The cost of getting this wrong is redundancy. Research from the Mckinsey Global Institute shows that as many as 800 million jobs worldwide could be lost to automation.

The games industry has the potential to energise Africa’s bulging youth population, create jobs and boost revenues.

I’d like to recommend a few experiential resources that parents may find useful in the world of gaming and education to prepare our children in unconventional ways. 

  1. Learning computing: As Kucheza Gaming, we have a partnership with Ukie’s Digital Schoolhouse who have a wide range of resources based on the UK computing curriculum. If you have a pack of cards, playdough, paper or a puzzle, you can teach your child computing principles in an unplugged way. 
  1. Game design and development: Here is a comprehensive list of game-centric and game-adjacent teaching resources that you can conduct at home with your children.
  2. Game design and development: Unreal Engine is a game design engine developed by EPIC Games (creators of Fortnite). Unreal Engine powers many of the top blockbuster games we’ve seen over the last 2 decades. Students can register to learn how to use Unreal Engine for game design, development, art and animation.
  3. Online safety: How can my children be safe online? Google has an immersive game called Interland that teaches kids to “Be Internet Awesome”. Kids learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. It is a really fun way to learn the dos and don’ts online for kids. Check it out!

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