In most classroom activities, the high achieving students continually find success, often without much effort, while students who persist through their struggles just might reach levels that are good enough to pass.
How can we get high achievers to strive for even more? How can we provide the feedback to persistent students so that they excel? And can we motivate non-achievers?
We may be taking a step in the right direction. Current standards in ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies emphasize inquiry-based learning instead of fact-based learning which was a lot easier to measure but demotivating and less relevant in these times when so much information can be found online so easily.
It’s hard to teach inquiry-based learning from a textbook. Learners need to engage with a problem, find out what they need to learn to solve it, and expand their knowledge and skills, sometimes collaborating and sometimes competing with others, to overcome obstacles.
Games can provide an environment for learners to engage with problems, providing challenges that add resourcefulness, creativity, and grit (or persistence) skills while also teaching and reinforcing academic learning objectives.
If this sounds interesting, you might want to look up Filament Games’ very valuable resource, Implementing & Evaluating Your District Game-based Learning Program, which explains why one might utilize game-based learning, how to implement it, and how to evaluate the results.
Filament points out that a study in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology found that
- Kids who play video games 5+ hours a week do better in school and fewer emotional and mental health problems.
- High video game usage with almost twice as likely to evidence high intellectual functioning and high competence at school.
Where to begin? Filament recommends
- Start thinking about the technology access; how are you going to provide access to the games?
- Look at games and any curricular elements they provide, what learning objectives are met by which games?
- Teachers need to be familiar with the games, perhaps the school or district can organize game-time; times when teachers can play games with and against each other.
- Pilot the games; let a few teachers try the games with some students and start to understand how the games will impact classes, the school, and the district.
- Measure the success, determine how you will know what is successful and what needs work, and apply those metrics to your pilots.
- Scale and implement; once you’ve started seeing success, replicate to other students, classes, teachers, and schools.
The document has a worksheet to guide on assembling the team, establishing goals, integrating games into the curriculum, and rolling out the games. You can download the ebook here.
Also, if you are interested in Game-Based Learning, check out the following on Edchat Interactive
- April 22, 2017, Tammie Schrader is going to be discussing how to run a regional game jam,
- May 3, Patrick Cerria is going to discuss how to use musical games to connect to and motivate autistic, physically disabled, at-risk, main-stream, and gifted students across elementary, middle, and high school
- June 7, Kenneth R. Bibbins is going to discuss how games can be used to help children overcome the mental and emotional issues stemming from exposure to traumatic events.