On Wednesday we also had a presentation about Games in Education from Sylvia Martinez. I really enjoyed listening to her thoughts and suggestions for using games in education. Sylvia is not a teacher, but she talks and works with educators about educational games. I liked that during the presentation we were able to try out some games and discuss what was good/bad about the different games. As well, we discussed what could be changed in the games to become more appropriate for the students to use. I appreciated her honesty about choosing games and the problems with most games published for children. She provided us with a list of things to watch for and avoid when choosing games for students. As well, she gave us suggestions for choosing quality games.
From the presentation I learned that just because a game is labeled educational, does not me that it is good to use in the classroom. Sylvia suggested to avoid using the games that are labeled educational software. Also, I learned that it is important to play the game and explore the possibilities of it before using it with students. She told us that it important that we are evaluative of games and ask tough questions about educational purpose of games. Is it worth the time? What is the educational value of using this game with the students? This presentation was very informative about and allowed me to reflect on these questions:
Are games useful for learning? Are games useful in school?
After the presentation, I was left to reflect and think about my own experiences with games in the classroom. I honestly had never thought about the value of using games in education. In my experience, most of the games students are exposed to in school are not good quality games. The games are “click and drag” games, which do not involve much problem solving and learning opportunities for students. I think from this experience, I developed a bias against using games in school. This presentation definitely opened my eyes up to the value of education games and the learning that can happen for students who use quality games in the classroom. As a beginning teacher, I will definitely look into providing my students with the opportunities of using games in the classroom. I know that I will gradually incorporate games into the classroom once I feel comfortable with it and I know it is useful for my students learning experience. I hope to learn more about quality educational games from teachers who use them in their classroom. If anyone uses educational games with their students, I would love to hear about it and how it benefits their learning experience.
EDUCATION + GAMES = ENGAGING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT
During the presentation, someone made reference to this video from James Paul Gee. I suggest you take the time and watch it. I think that he raises some very important points about educational games and the value they have in the classroom.
Here is my list of interesting points from the video:
- Collaboration: creatively working with others
- Assessment: no division between learning and assessment with using games
- Games are based to develop problem solving skills
- Production: Children want to build, design and participate in the learning process, which games provide this experience
- Social connection: teaching and learning new skills together
- Model learning: teachers learning new games with the children creates an engaging learning environment
The interview with James Paul Gee about video games.
Also, check out this TED talk with Alan Kay about better techniques for teaching students with using computers.