You name it I will play it

I am here today to admit something… I am addicted to games. You name it I will play it.

So how did this begin?

Photo Credit: kytetiger via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kytetiger via Compfight cc

Well play is the work of a child. Growing up I played a lot of games. I played games outside (Football,Cricket, Tennis, Tag). I played games inside (Monopoly, Subbeteo, Test Match, Balloon Ball). I played computer games (Football Manager, Super Mario Kart, Sonic the Hedgehog, Streetfighter, Elite). You name it I played it.

Some of these games I have to admit being mildly addicted to. With Football Manager I was obsessed, delusional and generally idiotic for a bloke who should know a lot better!

At the end of the day, a game is successful only if each individual gamer has an interaction with it that makes him or her want to come back for more. 

This is not a new phenomena. Gamification has been around for a long time, the earliest example is the belt system used by martial arts starting at white and working your way up to black.

But I am not here to write about the multi-billion dollar video game industry or martial arts. Instead how does this fit into the Education system? 

Well the simple reason is that play is our favourite way of learningPlay is useful because it simulates real life experience — physical, emotional, and/or intellectual — in a safe, iterative and social environment, not because it has winners and losers.

Some learners may lack motivation, especially when they do not find the purpose of a learning activity. Gamification and Game Based Learning  can make learning activities more active and participatory. So put simply they are both about engaging children in their learning. But there are differences too…

Gamification typically involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. In education it is generally used to motivate by using challenges, rewards and achievement badges. It encourages fun, mastery and meaningful choices.

Game Based Learning is the use of games (analogue or digital) for teaching a subject matter. The idea is to get children to play with already made games for a purpose.

So there are 2 separate ways of playing games at school as well as at home. Online and Offline…


Photo Credit: wwarby via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: wwarby via Compfight cc

There are plenty of educational games online for children of any age to play. Sites such as Khan AcademyLearning games for kids, Question Quest,  Brain Pop -Game Up, Amplify, Minecraft Education, Dragon Box  and OpenEd elements of gaming. Other games such as PaGamO allows teachers to create custom games and share them with other educators.


It is not simply children sitting around a computer or screen playing online games. It is so much more than that…Gamifiaction is

the application of gaming metaphors to real life tasks to influence behaviour, improve motivation and enhance engagement.

Taking elements of  popular games and using those elements can create a powerful offline game too. But it is challenging to correctly find this balance in fact many educational games fail because they simply do not offer

an intricate balance of challenges and rewards that continually push players to, and then beyond, the limits of their knowledge and skill.

Which is why a well made games become addictive! Games such as Sims, Sim City and Minecraft are all games that have been designed for gamers and the mass markets but with careful thought and planning can be adapted to use in schools.

In reality Gamification and Game Based-Learning are taking over real life in a bid to engage users. Amazingly in China a unique database of consumer information, a gamified social credit system compiles individual social credit scores. But this is not an anomaly. There are so many examples of it being used in every day situations:-

It is not surprising really because this TED talk predicted the future 6 years ago!

So what’s happening in the classroom? 

We play games a lot in the classroom. Maths games, writing games, reading games, online games, offline games. You name it we play it. We really enjoy playing games in our classroom.

Personal Picture- J. Bevans CC
Personal Picture- J. Bevans CC
Personal Picture- J. Bevans CC
Personal Picture- J. Bevans CC
Personal Picture- J. Bevans CC



Personal Picture- J. Bevans CC
Personal Picture- J. Bevans CC













But we play a lot of analogue games in the classroom I really want to delve into more online/technological games. However I want the games to be purposeful and relevant to my class.

I am aiming to put Minecraft into my class certainly during our Structures and Materials Unit and Communication Units next year. I have recently bought a Raspberry Pi and over the Summer will look to implement gamification with this. Finally I am exploring exploring SCRATCH and gamifiaciton and how to build this in to our game based classroom.

Why do I want to do this? 

There are games to reach every learner in a fun, non-threatening environment which allows for 21st Centruy Skills like communication, collobration, creativity and critical thinking. I think that

I love games… Games inside, games outside, games online, games outside. I am addicted to games. You name it I will play it. Why?

Well the simple reason is…

Fun + Play = Learning. What are you playing? 

5 thoughts on “You name it I will play it

  1. I don’t know why teacher think they’re classrooms can’t be fun and learning focused. Your blog post is an excellent example of how kids can be caught up in high intensity focused learning while also having fun. It’s so important…and more fun for the teacher too. Thanks so much for sharing, both analog and digital. And I love those bullet points at the end.


    1. Thanks Rebekah. Fun and learning is a perfect mix! The 2 go hand in hand for me. There has to be some enjoyable element to learning otherwise do the students and the teachers switch off… Thanks for your comments. Cheers, Joel


  2. Joel,

    Thank you for such a plethora of resources on game based learning. I feel like I am on the other side of the spectrum from you in terms of my experience with games and learning via play – but I really enjoyed all the links you had to share, especially because I want to tackle adding some game design into my classroom for the course 5 project in the fall. Have you had much success with gamification in your own classroom? I’d love to pick your brain on this sometime this summer!
    Thanks again!


    1. Thanks for your comment Lindsey. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. It has been a long summer! How is your course 5 project going? I would be happy to help if I can!


  3. Thanks Joel! It’s the end of my 5th course and yet I’m still trying to figure out the darn COETAIL website. I only just now got the notification that you responded! sorry again for the delay. Things here are pretty good — trying to reflect on my PLN growth (and deterioration) as a result of switching from cohort 5 to 6 this year. Any big advice from the other side (post-COETAIL life)? I’m heading on over to your most recent blog post after I comment, but I’d love to know what you’re thinking about doing for growth in the future! Keep in touch. 🙂


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