While we adults like playing games online – video games, logic games, games we can use an Everygame casino bonus to play, esports, or whatever – just for the fun, there is a very large field of gaming that is being used for strictly educational purposes. Let’s look at that today….
Neurologists and other behavioral therapists have determined that gaming is an important facilitator for our brains and suggest that teachers find more ways to add games to their instructional methodologies. The type of games played doesn’t seem to be important.
What’s clear to researchers is that, whether students play physical card and board games simple memory games or digital games with prizes, they develop a neurological “plasticity” that supports the learning of newly-learned material and the retention of older material.
Many educators once looked at games in the classroom as a waste of time but today, it’s clear that gamifying a classroom, whether with chess boards and scrabble games or digital educational tools, can change students’ outlook on learning and teachers’ ability to convey information.
Some of the benefits of gamifying a classroom include:
- Games that rely on memory, help to increase students’ memory capacity.
- Games facilitate the development of problem solving and strategic thinking skills.
- Games help develop hand-eye coordination skills.
- Gaming helps to promote higher-order skills like decision-making.
- Digital games can stimulate computer literacy and tech literacy.
- Via games, students can develop real-life skills (map-reading, practical thinking, managing finances, managing projects, etc).
In addition, research shows that games used in educational settings foster social and emotional learning, increase participation and motivate students to take risks. This is true regardless of whether the games are digital or real-world games. Any game can be adapted for the classroom but success depends on how the game is used. If it isn’t presented in an engaging and interactive manner, it offers no benefit.
The United States Department of Education promotes gaming in the classroom as a way to increase student motivation and engagement, improve students’ ability and willingness to collaborate and interact with peers and enhance various skills. Across the board, proponents of using games for educational purposes hope and expect that through games, students will learn to apply the skills and tools that they learn to real-world situations.
The best-case scenario is when games are used to support traditional methods of instruction so that students can come to understand how learning can be more than acquisition of facts and rote memorization. Games used in the classroom should be chosen because they promote interaction, problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, critical thinking skills and good sportsmanship. Educators who make the effort to incorporate games into their teaching strategies generally find that their students’ performance and enthusiasm increases.
Gamifying the Classroom
Today, when you talk about games in the classroom, the immediate assumption is that students will be taking out their electronic devices in order to play the games but that’s not necessarily so. Traditional games such as Scrabble, bingo, dice games and scavenger hunts can be adapted to today’s classrooms. 2023 students love the puzzles, the flash cards and other games that were popular decades ago as much today as they did then.
Teachers can even gamify the grading system by awarding points for participation, progress and perseverance so that students see the rewards of their gaming efforts being actualized in their grades.
Digital games involve another step in the gamification of the classroom. Online tools such as Kahoot!, Blookket, Quizlet, Gmkit and others allow teachers to make learning fun. Teachers can give kids different types of puzzle games to complete, design multiple-choice quizzes and ciphers, produce shared documents where kids can collaborate and more. There are online worksheet tools like LiveWorksheets and Wizer that promote instruction through matching exercises, open-ended and fill-in-the-blank questions, tables and graphs, student-created videos and images and more.
According to the National Education Association, “Collaborative learning has been shown to not only develop higher-level thinking skills in students, but boost their confidence and self-esteem as well. Group projects can maximize educational experience by demonstrating the material, while improving social and interpersonal skills.”
In an era when esports is increasingly popular among young learners, it’s possible to promote collaboration through gaming. Teachers can create their own digital or non-digital collaborative games or use some of the games that are available for classroom use including Escape Rooms, Balloon Questions, Scramble Puzzles, Jeopardy for the Classroom and Scavenger Hunts.
The NEA notes that collaborative promotes problem-solving and decision-making skills, promotes creativity, fosters meaningful and responsive communication and encourages students to find creative solutions.
Years ago, teachers used to give their students assignments to research a subject. Today, they have the same goals when they create quests for their students who set out on their quest to find out more information on a specific topic or subject. Same idea, different tactic.
Creating a quest simply involves gamifying the assignment. The teacher “sends” the students on an adventure quest based on a particular topic or subject. Quests can be project-based learning missions, opportunities for students to do “extra credit” to earn badges or points, collaborative projects and more. Assignments break down into different missions – one student can take the place of a journalist who reports on a topic as it’s happening while a second student can take the role of someone who is an active participate in the event. Different students can write their reports based on different perspectives of an incident or event.
The educational system is increasingly turning to gamification as it introduces gaming elements into the curriculum. Games and game-like platforms enhance the learning experience for learners and educators alike.