A decade ago - maybe even as little as a few years ago - educators and education technology specialists may have recoiled slightly at the mention of the word “gaming” in conjunction with a teaching and learning device. Since schools, colleges and universities started getting computer suites and getting connected to the internet, teachers and lecturers have desperately been trying to keep students away from games and gaming. The gaming industry, as a $100bn dollar behemoth, has never been as popular as it is right now and it’s still growing. In the UK, since the advent of the computing curriculum in 2014, gaming and gamification of learning is becoming more prevalent in schools, and this is causing a shift in interest in university and college courses around programming, games design and software development. Coupling this with the widely reported shortage of STEM workers, demand for graduates in this field is growing and growing.
With all that in mind, there’s never been a better time for a higher education institution to look at investing in specialist gaming machines. Still not convinced? Here are 4 very good reasons for your university to invest in gaming PCs.
A typical “gaming PC”, with powerful processors, advanced graphics card, super-fast storage and cutting-edge cooling system might be specifically geared towards running the latest 4K games, but at its heart, it's pretty much just a powerful PC. A suite of gaming machines could be used not just for your games design or programming courses, but also serve as resources for other courses which rely on heavy data processing and complex graphics, such as video production, product design, architecture and even the sciences. Your gaming PC investment could be an incredibly versatile and durable addition to your institution’s IT estate.
For a student who’s interested in studying any of the courses we’ve mentioned so far which rely on having the processing power and advanced graphics, the technology could be a bit of a challenge. After paying out on things like accommodation, living supplies, textbooks and other necessities, this doesn’t leave much room for purchases like technology - especially not gaming PCs or laptops. Not only are they a significant investment for a student, they can also can be impractical for an individual to accommodate - gaming laptops are usually heavy, so not ideal for a student to be lugging around campus, and it may not be practical for a student to have a full desktop gaming rig in their accommodation. Being able to access a central resource of powerful machines will be extremely beneficial to these students. Providing this will help you encourage and enable them to achieve more without having to worry about the practicalities.
A common problem with investing in technology in any industry - particularly in education - is that everything evolves so fast, which means you can find your investment to be outdated within a matter of months. This is less of an issue for your standard workhorse PCs which enable students to complete simple tasks like word processing and the browsing the internet, but when it comes to complex tasks and running the latest games or programming software, this can become a bit of a challenge. Not only are gaming PCs typically built with components from the very bleeding-edge of the market, but they’re also expandable and customisable to your heart’s content. That means if necessary, you can easily install upgrades, expansions and component replacements at a fraction of the cost of deploying a new set of machines, significantly increasing their useful life.
Speaking of future-proofing, there’s another technology and area of study where the potential and interest is growing - mixed reality. Mixed reality encompasses virtual and augmented reality - both of which need serious processing power. The vast majority of modern gaming PCs are VR-ready - allowing you and your students to develop and run mixed reality content. Mixed reality isn’t just important for gaming - it can enhance learning in a range of subjects from medicine to geography, and therefore being able to accommodate this technology in your institution benefits not only your games design and programming students but the wider student body too. Investing in gaming PCs is investing not just in the future of technology or the STEM industry, but in the future of learning too. To find out we could help you bring gaming PCs and a range of powerful and reliable end-user devices to your institution, click here to register for our dedicated NDNA portal.