Digital Technology Week 10 – Games-Based Learning
This weeks input for Digital Technology was based around Games-Based learning in the classroom again. This time we were focusing on the game Minecraft and we looked at it played on the iPad. We also looked once again into the reasons and benefits of using things such as Minecraft in the classroom to be part of a lesson or to be the topic of a series of lessons. Ofcom Report (2011) states that gaming is hugely popular in the UK with almost 86% of 5-7 year old children and 90% of 8-11 year old children using gaming devices regularly. This clearly shows that children are familiar with and enjoy using games, so it makes sense for them to be a part of their learning process.
We spoke abut how games such as Minecraft could be used in the classroom and why, revisiting from memory the first mind maps we created last week. We talked about how best it can be used Bray (2012) states that Games-based Learning has the most transformational impact when it is combined with good learning and teaching. This is saying that if the game is being used in an effective way to the children’s learning then it can be an amazing tool in the classroom. “Not only do [teachers] have to become familiar with the games, they also have to ensure that they make clear the way in which they want for the game to used.” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.9). This explains that the games must be introduced to the children when there is a level of trust with them that they will use them effectively. It also hints to the fact that the games must be used in a controlled environment, so the children can stay focused but still enjoy their learning.
This week was different in the way we completed the practical activity, we had Primary 6 students from a local primary school come in to teach us how to use Minecraft. The students were the digital leaders in their school and they explained to us that this means they learn how to use different tools in the school then goes into classrooms to teach and assist the teacher in the use of the technology. Before this workshop I had only seen my little brother play the game on his Xbox but had never actually played it myself and I didn’t know it was available on the iPad. There was four of us/students paired with three of the primary pupils. In my group none of the students had any experience of playing the game so the pupils had to start from the basics. It was very nice to watch the pupils teaching us and they were very good at it and very helpful. After they had taught us the things we needed to know we got the iPad and were told to create something with the verbal help of the pupils, but they weren’t allowed to touch the iPad. Our group created a two-story house with furniture inside. It was very simple but for our first attempt wasn’t that bad. Magbook (2014) states “Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon. Since it was first released back in 2011, it’s been taken to the hearts of thousands and thousands of gamers.” All the pupils that came into us loved the game and were very enthusiastic about teaching us how to play it. It made me realize how big and popular the game is.
While watching the children creating their world in Minecraft it was easy to see the links to the skills that Beauchamp (2012) states that could be developed by ICT games such as Minecraft which are:
• Strategic Thinking
• Application of numbers
• Negotiating Skills
• Group decision-making
• Data Handling Skills.
The experiences and outcomes that can be related to lessons including the game Minecraft could be “I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts.” TCH 1-01. Another couple that refers to the creating and discussion of them making their words could be. “I enjoy creating texts of my choice and I regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to suit the needs of my audience.” LIT 1-20a/LIT2-20a. And “I can convey information, describe events, explain processes or combine ideas in different ways” LIT 2-28a. There are a lot of other outcomes that could be competed around the topic of Minecraft including literacy in their writing or maths in planning out their builds or art, making them create things on paper or in 3D. The possibilities are endless all surrounding the one topic that the children love. And the children don’t have to play the game every lesson they could get it at the start of a new lesson and that would be them creatively set for the learning.
Overall, I really enjoyed learning from the children and learning how to play the game. I now realise how much thought and planning has to be put into the making of a simple building in the game. I would love in the future to use Minecraft as a stimulus for learning and as a topic for a series of lesson plans. I feel that games-based learning is very easy to integrate into classrooms and when it is the possibilities are endless and very engaging for the children.
· Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.
· Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 13th March 2018]
· Education Scotland (2004) Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [Accessed: 13th March 2018]
· MagBook (2014) How to Do Everything in Minecraft
· Ofcom (2001) Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes. [Online] https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 13th March 2018]