This week’s Digital Technologies lesson focused on Games-based learning. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the lesson due to weather conditions. However, to ensure I caught up with the learning I had missed, I reviewed the PowerPoint and conversed with my peers who attended the lesson. Today’s digital technologies lesson focused on Games based learning and the benefits of introducing games as an educational aid into the classroom to enhance children’s learning. Games based learning is the use of gaming for educational learning to increase learner’s enjoyment and engagement.
After talking with my peers, they informed me that today’s lesson involved the class working in groups to construct a mind map based on why they feel that games-based learning is an effective tool in education. This made me think of my own thoughts of why games-based learning is an effective tool in education. My main thoughts were that games-based learning would undoubtedly be a fun, engaging and interactive tool to aid children with their learning. The use of games in learning would also reinforce the connection of home learning with classroom learning by using games they would typically use in their homes such as Minecraft and the Nintendo Wii. Despite my knowledge of these benefits I felt that there were many more than the ones I had previously listed. Therefore, to expand my knowledge on the benefits and impact of games-based learning in the classroom, I began to review the PowerPoint presentation and examine the opinion of experts.
The Higher Education Academy detailed that theorists Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky believed that play is a vital element of cognitive development from an individuals birth to adulthood while stating that the introduction of computing and gaming in the 90s created new opportunities for play (Higher Education Academy Website). As well as this games-based learning increase learners motivation to learn while reinforcing prior knowledge and aiding them to recall information. Additionally, games-based learning can prove to be an effective aid for children with additional support needs who tend to struggle with sitting at a desk and writing. As well as supporting children with ASN games-based learning can also be an aid for children of all ages, Porter supports this view by stating “The digital environment provides a unique opportunity to empower people of all ages” (Porter, 2004, p.35).
Despite games-based learning typically being used as a reward for quick finishing at the end of the lesson, there are many ways that games-based learning can be used to fit a wide range of curriculum outcomes. As part of the lesson, we were challenged to think of lesson plans that would integrate Mario Kart into a variety of different curriculum lessons and outcomes:
For example, a possible literacy lesson could include learners writing a journal entry from the perception of an audience member watching the race. Showcasing their ability to use a variety of adjectives and descriptive words to describe the setting and atmosphere. “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 / LIT 2-20a
For a numeracy lesson we could use the games-based learning of Mario Kart to educate the children on money. By giving each child a set budget, they can analyse what race cars and characters they could buy for that price. I can manage money, compare costs from different retailers, and determine what I can afford to buy.’ MNU 2-09a
For a technology lesson, the learners could draw their favourite characters from Mario Kart and use iStop Motion to create a story using the characters. ‘I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts.’ TCH 1-01a
This technology lesson could lead to an expressive arts lesson. After the children have created a story using iStop Motion using their favourite Mario Kart characters, they could then act out their stories using costumes to become their characters. ‘I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances.’ EXA 0-01a / EXA 1-01a / EXA 2-01a
For a health and wellbeing lesson, learners could use cardboard boxes to make themselves into race cars from Mario Kart and practice the rules of road safety with their peers. ‘I know and can demonstrate how to travel safely.’ HWB 0-18a / HWB 1-18a / HWB 2-18a
After reviewing the many ways learning through games such as Mario Kart can be fitted into various curriculum outcomes, I feel as a student teacher it is vital that I aim to integrate games-based learning into as many class lessons as I can because they have proven, from the benefits listed above, to be an effective and engaging tool for young learners.
Overall, despite missing todays lesson I feel I am now more knowledgeable of the impact and importance of integrating its use into class lessons and the many ways games-based learning can be used to fit curriculum outcomes. I feel I am now confident after reviewing todays lesson that I could execute an engaging and effective lesson that integrates the use of games-based learning into a curriculum lesson.
Porter, B. (2004) Digi Tales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. United States: Bernajean Porter Publication.
Higher Education Academy (2017). Gamification and Games-Based Learning. [Online]. Available: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning . [Accessed: 6th May 2017]