I enjoy playing video games and I like to discuss different video games that I know my students play and I happen to play too. Speaking my students’ language allows me the opportunity to build a rapport with them at the beginning of the year. I have been interested in adding game-based learning in my class, like the keyboarding teacher does. However, I did not see the advantage of game-based learning until now.
The three articles that I found share the same viewpoints as to the advantages of game-based learning. Those advantages that the authors discuss are: the games engage the learners, the students develop skills, such as hand-eye coordination, and the games can help with a student’s memory capacity. Each of the authors discuss other advantages that are only found in their article that are equally important, such as “computer & simulation fluency,” (Jones, n.d.) and “immediate feedback,” (Peters, 2016).
I teach sixth science and social studies and I’m always trying new things every year, especially if it will engage my students. I have not tried any games in science yet, but I plan to next year with the new curriculum adoption. I found some games that I feel the students will be asking to play over and over. However, for social studies this year I had my students play a game through Discovery Education called “Maya Math.” At first, the students found it quite difficult because the Mayans had a base 20 system. Once they became familiar with it, the students really enjoyed it. In fact, I had a student finish the game that night at home.
I know for me that games have helped me develop new skills, so when it applies to students and their learning, I am willing to try it. Joe Peters writes, “Game-based learning allows kids to develop cognitive, social and physical skills simultaneously. This learning enhances essential life skills like cooperation and teamwork. The knowledge and skills acquired through game-based learning are retained longer than information from other learning methods” (2016). Students continue to ask to play the “Maya Math” game, weeks after we have finished the unit. My hope is that my science students will do the same thing with the games I have found to play using the new curriculum that has been adopted.
Jones explains how it helps a child’s memory by stating, “games often revolve around the utilization of memorization This not only relates to games whereby children have to remember aspects in order to solve the game, memorize critical sequences, or track narrative elements” (n.d.). Peters adds, “
each time children play the same game, they perform cognitive actions such as recalling the rules, keeping track of hazards and remembering how the sequence of play works” (2016). I know for me that it requires a lot of memorization to play some of the games I like to play. As I have watched my students play “Nitro Type,” students are required to recall what they have been learning in their keyboarding class. The students are working at speed and accuracy as they type to make their cars race faster against their opponents. They do not have time to look at their keys if they want to win the race. So, this game requires a lot of concentration and memorization of the keys.
“Nitro Type” would also fall under what Jones called the computer and fluency. She states, “this is something which is very important because we live in a world which is dominated by technology. Playing on games via the internet allows children the license to get used to how a computer works and thus it becomes second nature to them” (n.d.). At the beginning of the year, I can tell which students have a computer at home at which of them that do not. However, it does not take them very long to become familiar with how to use the laptops that I have for my social studies curriculum.
Another advantage that the students receive immediate feedback. Peters states that “learners benefit from the immediate feedback that takes place during game playing. Instead of having to wait days or even weeks for an assignment or test grade, students get instantaneous results about whether or not they made a good decision” (2016). I know for me that I wanted to know how well I did on an assignment or a test. Today, we live in a world that wants instant gratification, and waiting for test results are not fast enough for them. So when students can see how well they are doing on their game or check their achievement level, it helps them fulfill that need for instant gratification.
These are all great advantages to use game-based learning in my classroom. As I am searching for games that I can utilize next year, I have caught myself playing the games too. I have been looking for games that are engaging to my students, continue to teach them the content that they have been learning throughout the lessons, and provide immediate feedback. Now I am off to play “Missions To Planet Earth” (https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/earth-card-game/en/#/review/earth-card-game/preloader.swf). I think I will set it to easy this time.
Jones, C. (n.d.). 6 basic benefits of game-based learning. Teachthought. Retrieved from: https://www.teachthought.com/technology/6-basic-benefits-of-game-based-learning/.
Peters, J. (2016). 5 main advantages of game-based learning. Bright Hub Education. Retrieved from: https://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/129304-advantages-of-game-based-learning/.
Stathakis, R. (2013). Five reasons to use games in the classroom. Education World. Retrieved from: http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/reasons-to-play-games-in-the-classroom.shtml.