Using Games in the Classroom
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Using Games in the Classroom


Every game ever made is a learning game. What about Tetris? Learning game Checkers? Learning. Monopoly? Terrible, but yes. Pull my finger! No! I mean, yes. I mean no to the finger, yes to learning. Even Grand Theft Auto? Learning. Whoa. Unless I want to get fired GTA is not coming into my classroom. Okay, not all games are school appropriate, but they can still have learning value. You just got to see them as experiences rather than instruction, field trips rather than textbooks. Okay, but how would I make one of these learning games work in a classroom? First off start with the games your kids or you are already interested in. Stuff that drives deep engagement and thinking. That’s what makes games great. Seems like students love every game. Doesn’t really matter which one. Did you ever play, OregonTrail in school? Yeah. It was blast. Did you ever play it at home? Point taken. For game-based learning, after school play is the litmus test for engagement. Okay, but say I found a cool game. It’s still challenging to make it fit into my curriculum. Treat games like experiences not instruction. Prepare just like you would for a field trip or film screening Set some context and then explore together. But what if students go off the beaten path? Play will be messy, but it’ll also bring opportunities for learning. I like that. But let’s get real. What about cost, time and technology? Games can introduce many practical challenges. Thankfully there’s tons of games out there. And don’t forget about board games Find what works for you. Okay. I’m excited, but also a little nervous. You gotta admit some games can give kids some serious misconceptions. Use inaccuracies to drive inquiry. As they play, have students keep track of what doesn’t seem right. Later, have them explain how the game’s point-of-view compares with reality. What about this? To explain what they find students can create YouTube-style Let’s Play videos, with commentary. Awesome idea. Three tips to make any game into a learning experience: Use the games your students, and you, actually want to play. Treat games as experiences not instruction. And use inaccuracies to drive students’ inquiry. You left out the best part. What’s that? Now I’m counting Pokemon is PD Looking for more great resources? Head over to Common Sense Education for teaching strategies, ed tech reviews, lesson plans, and more.

About James Carlton

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4 thoughts on “Using Games in the Classroom

  1. This is exactly what we did with the World of Warcraft in School Project! In fact, our entire curriculum is free, online – http://wowinschool.pbworks.com!

  2. I must admit. I DID play Oregon Trail at home.
    Great video though. I will be sharing this with my teachers.

  3. Hey Common Sense Education, I love this video. I am writing an article on linking games with learning and I would be incredibly happy if I could include your video as reference to my article with your permission. I will give credits soon.

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