Jul 19, 2013

Game-Based Learning Is Probably Worth Looking Into

I love comics. Sure, like many, I'm into Batman, the Avengers, and the X-Men, but I've thoroughly enjoyed books like the Authority, Planetary, and DMZ. As a kid, my folks were good enough to buy me several subscriptions. An avid reader, I mowed through novels and comic books. In the fifth grade, it was comic books that had the more colorful language, and, to use modern lexicon, I was engaged. But, do you think my teachers would have used comic books in the classroom? Yeah, probably not.

Board games and card games have been around for a year or two. And teachers have used both in the classroom. They're tame and adaptable. But, have you ever played a board game made specifically for the classroom? Boring.

Video games have had a tough time of it, but some people are finally taking them seriously. Heck, in 1977, if a teacher had said, "We're going to use the Atari 2600 in our lesson today," I would have thought, "Well, yeah, why wouldn't you?" Kids love them and they're not going away. I love them. I love the worlds and missions and achievements and success. Fun!

Let me get to the point: I'm sold on game-based learning. Obviously, there a many factors to consider and plans will change, but it's something I have to try.

This article brings up the factor that gives me hives.
Timely feedback, relevant goals and carefully designed reward structures may help keep motivation high, while story elements, emotional engagement and permission to fail and repeat could help lock concepts into memory and provide mnemonics to assist with recall.
What to do about the "carefully designed reward structures"? While I spend this summer redesigning my room and approach, I keep coming back to this. I just don't know what that looks like. Fifth graders are a weird group, so I have to find something that motivates them for an extended period of time. If I have to keep changing it throughout the year, I'll go nuts.

Jul 3, 2013


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