One way to engage students and keep them motivated is to incorporate gaming in the classroom. This week at PETE & C, there were many sessions about gamifying learning experiences, so this post will focus on a few different ways you can get started. Below is a slide from one of those presentations, making the argument for incorporating game-based learning in the classroom.
Gaming in the classroom can take many forms. We've posted (and also presented at in-service) before about some formative assessment tools you can use that are in the game-based format. Some of those include Kahoot, Quizlet, and Quizizz. In addition to incorporating gaming, these are all great use of devices in the classroom and can fit any grade level and content area.
There are also several video-game type options that have been tailored specifically for schools. Many students spend hours playing video games at home, so why not tap into their enthusiasm for this hobby by incorporating it into the classroom?! Both Classcraft and Minecraft EDU have a gaming platform that can be used in a variety of ways. Teachers can use Classcraft as a classroom management tool and can incorporate assignments within it. Students can earn points and level up for behaviors the teacher sets like helping other students, correctly answering questions, and being a hard-worker/having a positive attitude. MInecraft EDU is based on the extremely popular game that you've probably heard students talking about at one point or another. Teachers can create lessons for students (or use already created lessons) that have students utilize the Minecraft EDU platform. These lessons and activities cover subjects across the curriculum and can be used with virtually any age-level. These gaming options are the perfect way to cover content, enhance collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, all while keeping students engaged and motivated. You don't have to have a background in video games to utilize these resources in the classroom and there are lots of tutorials and premade materials to help you get started!
My new favorite game-based find for this school year is Breakout EDU. Breakout EDU is similar to the idea of an Escape Room, but students are using boxes with locks instead of being locked in a room. They are given a back story and must use clues to solve a series of puzzles and unlock locks to "breakout." Again, the common theme among all of these different gaming ideas is that they promote teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking AND one I haven't mentioned yet-learning that failure is okay and a necessary part of learning. Teachers have already created a huge database of Breakout games that cover just about every concept under the sun and you can find games to fit every age-level. If you don't find something that fits your needs, you can create your own game, or even better, have students create the games! Check out the video clip below for more information and also the Techshowcase tab above for pictures of Breakout EDU games in action.
There were a lot of different ideas packed into this post and I know that can be overwhelming at first. However, I encourage you to think about how you could start small and incorporate a little bit of game-based learning in your classroom. Focus on one idea and go from there. If you need the support of a tech coach, please don't hesitate to ask!