EduGaming: In Need of a Simple Solution

Thanks to funding from a Manitoba Teachers Society Reflective Professional Practice Grant, we are spending a second day working on the topic of game-based learning and focusing on how we can use gaming to improve student learning. 

Earlier in the school year, I had posted a comment on the Game-Based Learning Hot Topics Blog about some of the struggles and challenges we have had when trying to take game-based learning to the next level in our classrooms.

I said, “Introducing games to my classroom has been the easy part so far… we love playing online games, card games or Kinect games in my Grade 1 classroom. My ultimate goal is to create a “game layer” where my young students could play/complete tasks/practice skills (inspired by USC’s Reality and RIT’s Just Press Play). However, making time to create some sort of game layer is presenting real challenges for me. We are using funding from one local grant for release time from the classroom to develop our ideas, but it seems there are never enough hours in the day to tackle this big goal! Any collaborators out there? Any suggestions?”

Today, I was reassured by a reply I received from Microsoft PiL Network Hot Topics blogger, Donald Brinkman.  He explained that often the simplest solutions take the most thought and effort, so that I need to keep working on simplifying the process for introducing a game-based layer to my classroom.  He also pointed me in the direction of two interesting people that have worked hard to create “simple” solutions for big problems:

Luis von Ahn:

I liked his approach of “sitting on” ideas.  If it’s a really good idea, it will still be on your mind 3 or 6 or 12 months later. 

I also think the concept of “Games with a Purpose” is perfect.  As an educator, I always want games to improve learning and help my students.  This guy is the master of finding ways to give games a meaningful purpose! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITrNU5fpiSo

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/von-ahn-games.html

Alex Tews:

We were astounded by the simplicity of this brilliant idea, an advertising-only website that earned Tews 1 million dollars.  “Keeping it simple” is really the way to go….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Million_Dollar_Homepage

milliondollarhomepage.com

After reading and watching, I feel like maybe I’m on the right track.  The idea for this classroom game layer has been on my mind for months, so perhaps it is one worth pursuing.  Now, I just need to find the simplest way to make it happen and make it successful and make it purposeful. 

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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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