I am here today to admit something… I am addicted to games. You name it I will play it.
So how did this begin?
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!
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 learning. Play 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…
There are plenty of educational games online for children of any age to play. Sites such as Khan Academy, Learning 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
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
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:-
- Fitness apps being gamified.
- Check you Linkedin profile page to see how many rewards you have got
- The U.S.A. Army is using it to recruit new members.
- Recycle banks offer rewards for doing everyday things that are good for the environment
- Mint.com makes the ordinarily painful process of demystifying your financials and planning for your future simpler and more entertaining through gamification
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.
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?