Encouraging Gameful Learning

Thanks to funding from a Manitoba Teachers Society Reflective Professional Practice Grant, we are spending a day researching game-based learning and developing game-based learning activities for our classroom.  We will document findings, ideas and resources in this post.

 Microsoft Partners in Learning Network

We visited the Hot Topics section to find out more about game-based learning from blogger Donald Brinkman.  We really liked his idea of “gameful education” because it resonated so strongly with what we’re working towards in our classrooms.  We also enjoyed his quote from Indiri Gandhi, “‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”  because we have felt all of those things in our ongoing journey to improve education and try new things in our classrooms.   The idea of infinite and finite games was also interesting to us… what if we could make education a lifelong game?!  Rather than a series of finite games interwoven into our curriculum and learning activities, maybe we need to be aiming for an educational transformation that makes education the game…

Here are some links we explored before designing game-based learning experiences for our own classrooms:

 Just Press Play: This looks like an incredible project involving IT students in Rochester.  We found the Educator page useful and we hope to try out their distributable software when it becomes available later this year.  Hopefully, it’s customizable nature will lend itself to use in K-12 education.

Reality: After reading the article USC Film Students Practice Artistic Craft Through Games it is evident that big games can be powerful in educational settings.  Now it’s got us wondering… how do we create this type of game in our schools?

ChronoZoom:  An interesting tool for exploring history that we came across.

Open Badges:  This allows people to issue, earn and display badges to recognize achievements.  Perhaps a useful site when giving recognition for game accomplishments…

Article: Brain Age Boosts Student Math Performance by 50 percent:  Although this is an older article, it was an interesting read.

Kinect in the Classroom: We have used this website before to get ideas for using Kinect games in the classroom.  There are suggested activities for different sections of games and how they could pertain to academic outcomes.

After exploring many websites and ideas, then taking a quick lunch break, we reached an “ah ha moment”!  We are going to design an ongoing game for our classrooms based on the same type of concept as University of South Carolina’s game Reality.  Although we know little about the details of their game, we like their concept of students collaborating to develop and practice skills while playing the game.  We’re hoping to start by developing a set of game cards that students can collect, trade and complete for some sort of recognition.  We’re not sure what recognition will look like yet, but we feel like we’ve got a good idea to start with…

We want to encourage higher-level thinking and important skills.  Some “types” of learning we hope to include are:  peer to peer teaching, collaborative learning, problem solving, creative thinking and communication.

Stay tuned to see how this idea develops….

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About mrsobach

Teacher in Park West School Division in rural Manitoba, Canada. Working with students and fellow educators to improve teaching and learning!
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