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
- 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.
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]