Whether it is on a field, court or computer screen, games have been a huge part of my life. My classroom is no different as games-based activities are a perfect compliment to my lessons and activities as a teacher. Not surprisingly, students love games and well-designed games help students easily measure their success (and failure!) and use that information to motivate them to a higher level of achievement.
I recently applied game theory to our typing practice and experienced an amazing boost in student achievement and motivation. For the last few years, students have used a web-based software called Custom Typing to complete tailored lessons, activities and games to improve their typing speed and accuracy. This year I integrated the idea of “leveling up” when they reached a specific goal (i.e. 15 WPM and at least 95% accuracy). When students achieved specific goals, they “unlocked” access to more games and activities both on the Custom Typing site and beyond. Some of our favourite keyboarding sites and software included Mavis Beacon, typingtest.com, and Typing Racer. See my keyboarding page for more resources.
Students enjoy improving their typing because they immediately see its practical application and can easily measure their progress and achievement. This game-based approach “leveled up” my teaching too as students were even more motivated to practice and receptive to guidance and teaching. They were keen to “level up” and earn access to more activities and games. Recently, when I was away on the Grade Four school trip, students in Grade Five were so keen they emailed me screenshots of their progress too! After some feedback and tweeks, I am ready to build upon this year’s success by creating a “leveling-up” system that is clear, progressive and fun. After all, this is an area of the curriculum that demands practice and dedication. Game theory took this learning to a new level and was more fun, progressive and motivating!
List of other games and simulations from my class
1. Cross Country Canada 2 – A simulation game where students become a truck driver and deliver commodities across the country. This was an excellent way for my Grade 4 students to learn Canadian geography. Crossing my fingers for app version of this favourite game!
2. Ice Cream Trunk – A simulation game where students sell ice cream for profit. Our Grade 3 students learned about profit and addition (and subtraction when business was bad!) and our Grade 5 students learned about spreadsheets and graphing profit over time.
Other similar titles include Hot Dog Stand: The Works, Concert Tour Entrepreneur and The Canadian History Game (based on the popular Civilization)
Finally, here is a link to the BrainPop Game Up site with a variety of professional and student created educational games that address many topics and activities.