This week’s session was a continuation on from last week’s “Games based learning” input. The focus of today however, was not on Mario Kart but Minecraft within the classroom.
A report created by Ofcom (2011) states that within the United Kingdom, almost 86% of five to seven-year-old children and 90% of eight to eleven-year-old children are using gaming devices regularly. I found these figures quite staggering as I had not fully realised the impact to what gaming is having upon the newest generation of children. Based on this, it is accurate to assert that gaming should be within schools if children are so fascinated by this type of technology. Not only will children be engaged whilst playing these devices, they are gaining life skills which are necessary for their future careers as adults. Furthermore, Ofcom also state that computer games are firmly embedded within the 21st century. Thus, through the evidence provided, teachers and educators should be ensuring that they are also firmly embedding these types of consoles into the curriculum, as they are arguably going to play a significant part to many children’s lives in the future of the 21st century.
Whilst discussing the impact of games in education, Bray (2012), constructed a table of what is involved in games and the outcomes children gain from them;
- Games are a form of play, which provides children with feelings of intensity and involvement.
- Games are a form of fun, which provides children with enjoyment and pleasure.
- Games have rules, which gives children structure.
- Games often have a final goal, which gives children motivation to complete the game.
- Problem solving is a feature of most games thus, sparking creativity within our children.
- Games have storylines throughout and can encourage children’s emotions.
- Within games, interaction is a key feature therefore, encouraging and developing children’s social skills.
- Games always provide outcomes and feedback, which provides children with significant learning experiences.
Because of this, there is sufficient evidence of the benefits of games based learning within today’s classrooms if the technology is used within the correct context. Furthermore, Bray agrees with this by stating “Games based learning has the most transformation impact when it is combined with good learning and teaching”. Beauchamp is another supporter of technology within the classroom and agrees with Bray by stating, “in recent years, interest has grown considerably in the potential for play to form the basis of learning”.
It can be argued that there is a lot of apprehension and anxiety amongst teachers with regards to digital technologies due to feeling like they do not have sufficient knowledge on this area. Stephen Reid (2016) agrees that there has been a ‘difficult history’ around games based learning, due to teachers feeling threatened that children are more experienced with technology than themselves. These feelings should not be shut away but should be embraced by teachers. Due to many educators feeling intimidated by children having extensive knowledge of games consoles, they should learn from the children and that is what we did in today’s class.
Pupils from a local primary school had come in to visit our class for the morning, they exhibited their work from the game, Minecraft. Alongside this, they taught us how to play the game. I found this experience very enjoyable and pleasant as the children could be the educators for once. It was clear that the children had also thoroughly enjoyed this experience as they left with very smiley faces. They informed us that their current project on Minecraft was based around their topic of Harry Potter and they had created the Hogwarts school and Hogsmeade.
Upon my attempt at playing the game, I struggled at first as I did not know what to do however, the children were very supportive and by the end of the session, I had managed to create my very own house with two levels in it.
Once considering lesson possibilities of this game, I had concluded of four other areas. For example, the game can be used for topics including; Ancient Greece, Titanic, Egyptians and Romans. With Ancient Greece, the children can incorporate literacy and digital technologies i.e. reading one of the ancient stories then recreating the scenery as they had imagined it in their mind using the game. Another example is using Minecraft to teach about the Titanic, children can use the game to create what they imagine the cabins may look like in the boat, this then provides a stimulus for them to write a diary entry and describe what their room looks like. Furthermore, Egyptian and Roman architecture can be explored using this game as children can attempt to create their own pyramids or coliseums.
I have identified several Experiences and Outcomes in relation to this subject area and are as follows;
- I can convey information, describe events, explain processes or combine ideas in different ways. LIT 2-28a
- I have the opportunity to choose and explore an extended range of media and technologies to create images and objects, comparing and combining them for specific tasks. EXA 2-02a
- I can create and present work that shows developing skill in using the visual elements and concepts. EXA 2-03a
- Through observing and recording from my experiences across the curriculum, I can create images and objects which show my awareness and recognition of detail. EXA 2-04a
- Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through activities within art and design. EXA 0-05a / EXA 1-05a / EXA 2-05a
- I can extend and enhance my design skills to solve problems and can construct models. TCH 2-09a
There are endless opportunities that this game provides and I am extremely excited to use this within my own practice in the future.
Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.
Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education [Online] Available from: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 2.3.18].
Ofcom (2001), Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes [Online] Available from: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed: 15th March 2018].
Stephen Reid (2016) Teachers Experience Games-Based Learning at Minecraft Launch [Online] Available from: http://futurescot.com/educators-encouraged-open-minds-possibilities-games-based-learning/ [Accessed: 15th March 2018].