Game Based Learning
When I was 12 years old one of my three grandmothers passed away. I didn’t really know her, she lived overseas, but she left all the grandkids some money and when asked what I wanted to do with it, I told my parents I wanted to buy a Commodore 64. That was the start of me being a nerd! I learnt to program computer games in “Basic” and since then have spent many long hours playing games – I am a self-confessed computer geek!
Since the mid 1980’s the media has often blamed violence or societal problems on computer games and parents have thought that their withdrawn and sedentary teen, who spends too much time on the gaming console, would somehow fall off the wagon! However research is making a clear case: computer games are making kids smarter!
One school in New York, Quest To Learn, has taken this idea and developed their whole curriculum around game play and game design. This article in the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/questtolearnNYT), including the video, gives in interesting perspective on the potential benefits of Game Based Learning (GBL) or the gamification of learning as described by Gabe Zichermann (http://bit.ly/zichermann).
School leaders are becoming more and more concerned about the level of student engagement as they watch students disengage from an increasingly irrelevant educational system. As gamification is applied to ever increasing aspects of society, education continues to be left behind. The opening comment on the video below confirms what many suspect, that educational systems are the slowest to change (http://bit.ly/changingtolearn).
This just does not need to be the case. The Institute of Play has a wealth of resources and research (http://bit.ly/IOPresearch) for school leaders to bring education up to date. The digital native in our classrooms does not need to be frustrated by an educational system inherited from the industrial age. Jane McGonigal, another gamification enthusiast, believes that games really can solve the world’s problems, to hear about her research watch the video (http://bit.ly/wFCk8S). Former teacher and school principal, Robert J. Torres, Ph.D, is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and presents some astonishing possabilities, his presentation can be seen here.
Developing rigorous pedagogy in this arena is vital to providing sound educational experiences. Nicola Whitton provides some sound research with the following conclusion: If games are experiential, active, problem based and collaborative, then they have the potential to be effective environment for learning, not specifically because they are games but because they exhibit the characteristics of constructivist learning environments. See her blog here.
More reading here.
1. Read and watch all the videos/articles to build your pedagogy
2. Use one or more of these resources to build, design and engineer games!
b) www.gamestarmechanic.com (DEC blocked until year 9)
e) Minecraft in the classroom, DEC unblocked
( DEC Blocked - an excellent way for teachers to understand
the gamification mechanics)
h) Learning with Portals
For the school that wants to delve deper into GBL have a look here:
Then comment to tell me about your experience!