Like it or not, digital games loom large in the lives of our 21c kids today. Most of our students and perhaps you too, received some kind of device/game/gadget over the holidays! Happy New Year BTW!) From Minecraft guides on YouTube, to interacting with their virtual pet on a DS to reading(and playing) a Dr. Seuss ebook/game on an IPad /smartphone, our kids use these devices to play, share and learn about the world. (And this is not just how I spent my break!)
GBL is an powerful tool when: used purposely to teach a topic, age appropriate, easy to start but suitably and increasingly challenging and most importantly, fun. For our Grade Four’s, our truck driving simulation called Cross Country Canada 2 is an effective (and sneaky) way to teach them Canadian geography. When keyboarding, our Grade Five students earn levels by improving their skills and when they “level up” they “unlock” new activities and challenges. Like drama and other resources, digital games can be an excellent resource to motivate, differentiate and engage a variety of learning styles and offer experiential learning through well designed games and simulations. I believe that strategically chosen games and educationally rich simulations can be a strong element of a well-rounded curriculum to target this generation.
Here is a good video as an introduction to GBL (ignore the background piano playing as it is only slightly better than mine!) and also included is an excellent comprehensive GBL resource page from Edutopia.
Let me know what you think and please feel free to share any GBL strategies and resources from your lessons. I am happy to share our current GBL resources, collaborate and search for more on your topics.
Here is a link to a prior article on how I “gamified” my ICT lessons.
Also here is a Symbaloo on Keyboarding resources, I created and posted on our LMS (Blackboard).
*tmtt = Our two minute technology tip shared with our staff.