If you've been anywhere except under a rock for the past several years, you've probably heard of the movement of Game-based Learning (GBL) and it's effect on the classroom environment.
In my last few years in the classroom I, personally, transferred as much of my classroom instruction into GBL format as I could. The reactions were quite interesting and varied from both my peers and my students.
My best example is the game of Kahoot that I played every Friday afternoon with my students. After only a few weeks, it was rare that I ever had a student absent Fridays, even if they were not feeling well. Students looked forward to the game and I was able to use that in all of the other areas of my classroom management. On the other hand, I would have co-workers ask me, " How do you have time to play GAMES (yes, said in THAT tone of voice) when I don't even have enough time to get all of the curriculum taught?" After stopping myself from answering with a not-so-nice comment, I normally would start explaining myself by using the definition for Game-based Learning:
Game-based Learning - a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes. Generally, game-based learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain, and apply said subject matter to the real world.
If, by then, they hadn't already walked out of my room rolling their eyes, I would go on to explain that all of my activities were based off of my end result of what I wanted my students learning and that I probably spent more time preparing my "game" than any lesson taught straight out of "the book."
Starting with my end result in mind, I would design my Kahoot game around the concept my students needed to understand and I would incorporate the concept into real-world understanding. (yes, I threw in just plain fun questions in addition to randomize it, so they wouldn't realize they were learning)
If I STILL had my co-workers attention, I would continue explaining to them that, in addition, I was able to assess my students' knowledge by observation and data analysis during this half hour on Fridays and it helped guide my instruction for the following week.
Lastly, if they were still interested enough to be listening to me, I usually showed them the data I had collected (ranging from scratched notes to graphs, spreadsheets, etc.) over that year and the previous years. That information helped shape my classroom instruction, not only for the current year, but, by comparing it to previous years, I was able to improve my students' understanding on a continual basis. I also believe that forced me to reexamine my instructional methods on a continuous basis and made me a better teacher in the end!
Most of the time, though, I lost their interest as soon as I showed them the definition, because they had already made up their mind I was just playing another one of my GAMES......
If you've not considered trying Game-based Learning in your classroom, I highly recommend it. If you're not sure how to get started, I recommend the following video by Alice Keeler: Getting Started with Games Based Learning (Click here to view)
After more than 25 years in both the Corporate I.T. world and the Educational Community, I have many thoughts on what the current/future trends in Ed Tech will be. This is my page dedicated to those thoughts and tips.