Video games may not be the solution to educational problems, but they are an excellent tool to help educate and train young minds. This week’s readings the authors, Salen and Zimmerman, (Salen & Zimmerman, 2004) discussed in chapters 11, 12, and 13 how the rules of games have an effect on the enjoyment and understanding of how they function. A detailed analysis of some popular games gave insight into how the rules and strategy of the game help the players understand the goals and outcomes when playing. Rules help create the structure of the game. The rules are the component that makes it a game. Without rules, the game has no structure. They define games as being separate from real-world which separated them from ordinary life. Listed in Chapter 11 where the six characteristics that distinguish a game.
The video TEDTalk with McGonigal contained information that gave a deeper perception of how the act of playing games can add to the coping skills of society. Since gaming beyond board games is so new to me, there were many perceptions that I had not given any thought of the impact that playing video games can have on individual growth, coping and learning skills. I checked out two YouTube videos that gave additional insight into the challenges that games provide for the young mind: Games for Change 2018 Festival (https://youtu.be/1O8F2GgrfU4) and #GameOn-88 Seconds of Video Games (https://youtu.be/pWZtbfBGjIg). Both of these videos added some insight on how involved and wide-spread this arena of learning has grown in the last twenty years. Out of this growth, there are two really good educator resources that I found: Digital Games Handbook for Teachers by Patrick Felicia, Guide to Digital Games & Learning by J. Shapiro Game Educator’s Handbook by they were loaded in information that would be helpful to any educator. Both of these sources would be helpful in the planning of incorporating digital games into the learning environment and adding additional pedagogy to the experience.
Several strategies (Fradkin, 2017) that I found during my search that can help to integrate games into any learning experience were:
Allow students to name their teams;
Let them create a storyline to accompany why they are on a particular quest;
Build excitement before the games begin;
If it’s a new game that students have never played give them a chance to get familiar with the rules and game pieces within the game. (be it the board or digital);
If it’s a digital game allow them to view the video short of the game.
Computer game playing will enhance spatial skills, so find ways for them to show that they have a clear understanding of that skill by how they play the game and maneuver the components. Allow students to discuss and show their ability to read images, such as pictures and diagrams. Gaming allows teachers freedom of movement while the student is playing to monitor how well they keep track of a lot of different components of the game at the same time. (Gros, 2007)
Review the objectives of the game;
Ask students to answer questions about the game;
Ask students to relate their experiences while playing;
Link the game experience to related learning objectives and real-life experience;
Discuss what they learned while playing the game.
Create pointed questions that answer questions about the scene where the game takes place;
Discuss the goal of the game and identify the main characters and their role in the game;
Have students identify the challenges faced by the main character;
Have students identify what it would take to be successful in this game; what weapons, tools or items the character has use of to pursue their quest; and
Who is the antagonist and protagonist in the game? (Felicia, 2018)
Felicia, P. (2018, September 24). Digital games in schools: A handbook for teachers. Retrieved from Digital Games: http://games.eun.org/upload/gis_handbook_en.pdf
Fradkin, A. (2017, April 3). How to roll out game-based learning and boost engagement--In your classroom. Retrieved from Technology in School: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-04-03-how-to-roll-out-game-based-learning-and-boost-engagement-in-your-classroom
Gros, B. (2007). Digital games in education: The design of games-based learning environments. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 23-38.
Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2004). Rules of play: Games design fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Nona M. Batiste is a forty-year experienced public school teacher who has taught in both New Orleans Public Schools and Dallas Independent School District. She holds a B.S. in Education from Southern University of Baton Rouge, LA and a Master of Science Teaching (MST) from Loyola University of New Orleans, LA. Ms. Batiste has taught Environmental Science and General Science to middle school and high school students. She has been active in both school districts as a master teacher and workshop presenter.