When I first tried a game for an educational purpose, I searched for learning games and one that I came across was knowledge guru. This game was not one that I would necessarily use with my students (unless I was doing a nutrition assignment for something) but it helped me to learn what a great learning game looked like. This game sent you on quests, which you completed by answering questions, and when you got a question wrong, it explained the correct answer so you could get it right the next time. Like I said, not something I would necessarily use with my students but I am glad that I played it because I would not have thought to look for question games that explained the right answer without playing this one. I also checked out their website and they had a great Quick Start Guide for Game Based Learning infographic that I think all teachers should follow when starting to implement a game. What I thought stood out the most from this was every step seemed to make a statement (either obviously or not so obviously) about getting familiar with the game before bringing it to your students which is huge. If you bring a game to your students that you have never tried before and expect it to hit learning outcomes based on something someone else said and haven’t tried it yourself, what help are you going to be to your students and how will you be able to justify it to the parents of those students?
Justin Marquis suggests that there are 3 Strategies that you can use to make Game-Based Learning Explicit:
- Encourage cooperative play
- Implement structures for active engagement
- Embrace failure as a learning opportunity
So why are games so great for learning? Just check out this infographic below
- Do you understand the game and how it works – if you as the teacher do not understand the ins and outs of the game, how will you be able to support your students?
- Is it engaging for your students – do they enjoy playing the game or are they just playing it because it is a requirement that you have set for them? If you want to see the difference when using games that are engaging to your students with their learning just look at the infographic found here: http://www.theknowledgeguru.com/game-based-learning-infographic/
- Can it be modified? – Like Minecraft, different options are available and different objectives can be given, choosing games with different ways of approaching it or different difficulty levels can make a huge impact for more students.
Boller, S (June 8, 2013) Quick Start Guide for Game Based Learning Design. Retrieved on March 29, 2014 from http://www.bottomlineperformance.com/quick-start-guide-for-game-based-learning-free-webinar/
Helen (August 14, 2012) Why are games good for learning? Retrieved on March 29, 2014 from http://pixelearning.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/why-are-games-good-for-learning/
Huhn, J (May 15, 2013) Getting the Facts on Game Based Learning (INFOGRPAHIC). Retrieved on March 29, 2014 from http://www.theknowledgeguru.com/game-based-learning-infographic/
Marquis, J Ph.D. (November 25, 2013) How To Help Your Students Embrace Failure Through Game-Based Learning. Retrieved on March 29, 2014 from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/help-students-embrace-failure-game-based-learning/