Dec 29 2010

Integrating Digital Games and Education

Many of us believe that digital games in supporting the learning that takes place in school. I talk about “learning in school” as somewhat of a contrivance. Learning can take place at different times and in different places, it is not the preserve of the classroom. To be successful at gaming requires learning to take place, however ¬†educators may ask, what has been learnt. Schools are required to teach specific things and because of this I use the team “learning in school”.

I found this an interesting article illustrating some of the issues which need to be tackled before teachers become confident in using games for learning.

http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2010/06/16/03games.h03.html

Some tips from the article:

1. Play a little. To be effective at integrating digital games into learning, teachers should spend time playing games themselves. Teachers need to be familiar with what’s in a game and how it works before using it with students. Finding a cheat sheet or walk-through of commercial games online beforehand can be helpful.

2. Make time for staff development. Although some professional development can occur informally through teacher discussions, having a dedicated time and space for talking about game-based instruction helps move the process forward.

3. Get involved. Using games in the classroom is not a passive activity. Students need teachers to help draw out the connections between what’s going on in the game and what they’re learning in class.

4. Rely on students. Many are familiar with digital games, and asking them to share their knowledge can be engaging and empowering.

5. Don’t be afraid. For game-based instruction to be successful, teachers have to feel comfortable making mistakes. If teachers avoid new approaches, they will not embrace innovative teaching methods.

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