Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why I am Okay with Games in the Classroom

By Nina Kendall

I am not a true gamer. Do I like games? Yes. Do I play games? Yes.  However there are times when both board games and computer games are more frustrating than fun for me.  Despite this frustration I support the use of games in the classroom. Games have great features that promote student learning.

-Games offer feedback and practice.
Students learn very quickly in a game if they have made the wrong or right move. This feedback gives students a chance ti to reflect and correct their thinking. We know that trying again is important. We know making mistakes is part of learning. A game offers the opportunity to try, fail, and triumph.

-Games offer chances for collaboration and conversation.
If you utter the words group projects to students, you will here some groans. Yet say the word game and they are ready to work together. Even better as they work together students are having unprompted conversations about the topic. The best spontaneous conversations among students about the unit of study have come from games.

-Games provide goals.
You have a goal for each lesson you plan.  However what seems like a clear goal t o you may not be discernible to students. This issue is reduced by the possible outcomes of a game.

-Games are fun and engaging.
With loads of testing and value added observations, it is easy to forget that learning can be fun and engaging. Games help put the fun back in the classroom for students and teachers.

Take time to play a game in your classroom even if you are not a gamer. The risk is worth the reward.