Digital Technologies – Week 10

Within today’s session of Digital Technologies, we were further exploring games based learning with Minecraft as a stimulus for learning. “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.” (How to do Everything in Minecraft, 2014, p.3) This is another games based learning resource that can be used within the classroom.

The 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. From growing up in a world where gaming was quite popular, I feel that even from the time I was growing up, the gaming world has expanded massively, to the point where not many children would resort to going outdoors to play anymore. Their football playing field is at the touch of a button!

Bray (2012) states that in a classroom setting, games should not just be used as rewards or for entertainment but as a whole new approach to learning. Throughout my years of schooling, games were only used and played with on the last hour of a Friday afternoon, known as ‘Golden Time’. This was the chance we got to interact with our friends, take a break from working and be treated for all of our efforts and hard work during the week, being able to play with our gaming devices and the computers.

Nowadays, games can be used within an educational establishment as not only a treat, but a way in which learning and teaching can be widened to develop a child’s learning of skills and developing their education. Bray (2012) agrees and backs up this as it states that Games-based Learning has the most transformational impact when it is combined with good learning and teaching.

It is highly important for myself, as an educator to be familiar and confident within the games used in games based learning.  According to Beauchamp (2012, p.9) it states “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.” If a teacher is confident in using gaming within the classroom it will open up the possibilities for learning and incorporating these games into lesson plans and linking them within the curricular areas and experiences and outcomes.

Beauchamp (2012) also states that the type of skills that could be developed by ICT games are:

  • Strategic Thinking
  • Planning
  • Communication
  • Application of numbers
  • Negotiating Skills
  • Group decision-making
  • Data Handling Skills.

It is amazing that ICT games can not only provide enjoyment for children, it can help with their development in many areas in which an educator may not have been able to.

Within the curriculum, games based learning using Minecraft links into many different areas:

“I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance leaning in different contexts (TCH 1-01a)” (Education Scotland 2004).

The children are using and exploring the wonderful world of technology to enhance their learning in different ways.

I think as an educator, it is important to incorporate games based learning into the education establishment, especially with the use of Minecraft. Minecraft can allow the children to use their creativity skills to construct buildings or houses that way may discuss within topics carried out in the classroom, such as the Vikings. Also the children are able to use their imagination and interpret different descriptions of what a building may look like which was told in a story, such as the house in the three little bears children’s book. I will definitely be using this in the future and I am glad we got a chance to play around with the app and increase our awareness and confidence within the world of Minecraft.

References

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 14th 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 on 14th March]

Ofcom (2001), Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes  [Online] – https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education [Accessed 14th March 2018]

Digital Technologies – Week 9

In today’s session for Digital Technologies we were learning about games based learning:

“Digital Games-based Learning is the integration of gaming into learning experiences to increase engagement and motivation.” (Higher Education Academy website)

At the beginning of the session, we were to create a mind map which showed why game-based learning is an effective tool to use in education. My peers and I had come up with ideas such as:

  • It engages the children with their learning experiences
  • Links within the curriculum – Digital, Numeracy, Literacy, Art, Music
  • Enables skills to be developed – hand/eye co-ordination, planning etc.

As an educator, it is important to include games based learning into the planning and teaching of our pupils. With this fun and modernised way of learning and teaching, comes with a set of guidelines which should be implemented whilst teaching using games in the classroom. According to Learning and Teaching Scotland we need to be ensuring effective implementation of games, be clear about learning intentions, use appropriate games for tasks and most importantly, make clear links to experiences and outcomes within the curricular areas for each level that you are going to be teaching and carrying out.

According to Learning Teaching Scotland (2010 pg. 12) “Over the past decade, the use of digital gaming in education has prompted considerable attention in exploring how and why games might be powerful tools in the classroom. As a result of this interest, there is a considerable body of literature available on game-based learning in the classroom and the potential benefits of this for education and learning.”

It is important to highlight that there is a history behind games based learning “The link between learning and playing is longstanding and predates the digital era by thousands of years (Higher Education Academy 2015).  Theorists Jean Piaget and Leonard Vygotsky have argued that play is an important part of brain development from birth and throughout adulthood (Higher Education Academy 2015). I think that this is a very important point and that by getting a child to do things through play at an early stage in life will enable their thinking skills and hand eye coordination to develop vastly for the future, where they will be able to apply this knowledge in ways in which a pen and paper simply could not or would not provide the same kind of advantages.

I think it is important for us as educators to incorporate play into a child’s learning environment, not only to enhance their thinking skills but it helps to develop their social skills which is often easily created at a young age.

For today’s session we were to learn about and explore the Nintendo Wii to play the games based learning platform – Mario Kart.

However, through technical issues this could not be executed so we watched a game being played on YouTube. I have had experience with the Wii from a first-hand approach, as I played it when I was growing up so I already had the prior knowledge and the thought processes of how using this platform would aid a child’s learning.

I think that this is a perfect example of how creativity, problem solving and planning ahead comes in to practice for the development of a child’s learning.

We then worked with our peers to create an Interdisciplinary Learning plan (IDL). This helped to show the number of curricular areas that game-based learning can cross.

The plan was based on Mario Kart and our ideas linked to the Curriculum for Excellence were:

Literacy

For literacy, we thought that as an educator we will be able to teach the children the literacy skills which will enable them to come up with and create a description of characters, their cars and the different race courses that were to be driven on by using a range of different phrases, adjectives and a wide range of language.

Within the Curriculum for Excellence, this linked to:

“By considering the type of text I am creating I can select ideas and relevant information and organise these in a logical sequence and use words which will be interesting and/or useful to others (LIT 1-26a)” (Education Scotland 2004).

Technology

We also came up with the idea that we could introduce the use of PowerPoint for the children to introduce and show their characters to the rest of the class. They will be able to draw their characters, take digital photographs of it, upload them to a PowerPoint slide and make use of the resources given by Microsoft to describe their characters and make them look interesting to look at.

This linked in with the curricular area:

“I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance leaning in different contexts (TCH 1-01a)” (Education Scotland 2004).

I think games based learning is an excellent way to create fun, interactive activities using platforms such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox. Their possibilities and benefits to the child are endless, with excellent links to Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes, which I may not have thought would have beforehand.  As a prospering educator, I will definitely be incorporating games based learning into my education planning as I feel that it not only benefits the children’s creativity, social and coordination skills, but it also It also encourages children to work in teams to share all of their ideas together.

References

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 on 14th March 2018]

Higher Education Academy (2015) – Gamification and Games-Based Learning [Online] https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning [Accessed on 14th March 2018]

Learning, Teaching Scotland (2010) – FutureLab – The Impact of Console Games in the Classroom [Online] https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/FUTL25/FUTL25.pdf [Accessed on 14th March 2018)