Video Games as an Educational Tool

Njuguna, Jimmy, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Earle, Joshua, EN-Engineering and Society PV-Institutional Research and Analytics, University of Virginia

This portfolio features two projects that demonstrate my capacity for coming up with creative answers to real-world issues and gives a thorough overview of the required knowledge and abilities. The first project, a study paper on video games' educational potential, examines how gaming might revolutionize teaching and learning by engaging students, teaching a variety of subjects, giving quick feedback, and encouraging a sense of accomplishment. The design and execution of a searchable database for Amazon's pandemic data, as well as the enhancement of the user sign-up experience for Amazon Pharmacy, are highlighted in the second project, a technical report on my internships at Amazon.
The first study explores the rising popularity of video games and how they might be utilized as a teaching resource. Since millions of people play video games on a regular basis worldwide, educators may take advantage of this trend to develop more engaging learning opportunities for students from various backgrounds and skill levels. From early examples like "Oregon Trail" to a wide variety of contemporary educational games covering many areas like math, physics, language learning, and history, the paper gives a quick overview of the use of video games in education. Video games can imitate real-world situations and teach principles in a variety of subjects, including science, history, arithmetic, and more. Additionally, soft skills like cooperation, problem-solving, and critical thinking can be taught through the usage of video games.
The significance of the subject is highlighted in the Thesis, emphasizing how video games have the ability to provide more inclusive and engaging learning environments, especially for students who might not find conventional teaching techniques appealing or who might have difficulty in conventional classroom settings. The essay also discusses the advantages of adopting video games in the classroom, such as rapid feedback that enables students to learn from their errors and improve right away. This can be especially helpful for students who may be having trouble understanding a particular idea because it enables them to get more practice and feedback until they fully understand the subject. In addition, gamification components like achievements, incentives, and levels in video games can provide children a feeling of progress and accomplishment. This can help keep students motivated and engaged in their learning, making the overall educational experience more enjoyable and rewarding.
The technical project describes my two internships at Amazon, both in the health organization, and my experiences there. For the first internship, a searchable database for pandemic data was designed, and ElasticSearch was used to build a schema and import data. Due to its adaptability, scalability, and ability to handle enormous amounts of data, ElasticSearch is a preferred option among developers for search applications. By the time my internship was up, I had built the entire solution, shown the app, and provided suggestions for further work on integrating the entire dataset and developing a user-friendly interface.
The second internship focused on improving the sign-up flow for Amazon Pharmacy- through a project called Chase Acceleration- by expediting and simplifying the process in order to convert more customers. I proposed and implemented solutions for various issues related to the user interface, working with designers and managers to refine the flow and make it more efficient. Examples of well-designed user interfaces, such as Google search engine, Dropbox app, and Google Nest, were considered to emphasize the importance of a seamless and accessible user experience. The project's goal was to ask for only the minimum amount of information needed at any given moment, making it easier for customers to complete the sign- up process.
Both projects demonstrate my ability to approach complex problems, conduct thorough research, and develop innovative solutions. The exploration of video games in education presents a compelling argument for their potential to revolutionize teaching and learning. Meanwhile, the technical project showcases my hands-on experience in designing and implementing technology solutions that address real-world challenges in the health organization. Together, these projects provide a comprehensive overview of my skills and knowledge, highlighting the value I can bring to future endeavors in both academic and professional settings.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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