For today’s lesson we were exploring games-based learning “Digital Games-based Learning is the integration of gaming into learning experiences to increase engagement and motivation.”(Higher Education Academy 2017). One of the main reasons I chose Digital Technology as an optional module is during our first semester in another module we were introduced by our lecturer Graham, to how the Wii Game ‘Rock Band’ could be used to engage and motive children from creating a band, drawing or painting the band members, going on a world tour and calculating prices of tickets, to working out where to go and when, the options are almost endless and include so many, both cross-curricular activities and life-skills from collaborative working to problem solving.
We began today’s lesson by working in groups to create a mind map on the positives and negatives we believed about Game-Based learning. Some of the positives we decided upon were that children were free to express themselves, are in control of their own learning and allow for so much interactivity. We then did some further reading and returned to our mind-map. From our reading this emphasised the collaborative and co-operative working opportunities available as well as promoting exploration which games-based learning can introduce into a classroom.
Jean Piaget first introduced the idea of discovery learning and Piaget, alongside Vygotsky has argued that play is a crucial component for development from birth through to adulthood. He suggested children learn best through ‘doing and actively exploring’ (Mcleod, S. 2015). Vygotsky built upon this by suggesting that children not only learn by doing but this learning is most valuable when done in social groups, learners helping and teaching each others, Vyotsky names this the ‘More Knowledgeable Other’. Both Piaget and Vygotsky have changed our schooling system and the way we teach immeasurably and Games-Based learning has the ability to incorporate all of their main theories, promoting social learning, discovery learning and allowing them to actively explore.
An idea for Games-Based learning we were exploring in today’s lesson was the Mario Kart game on Wii console. We were to create our own Mario Kart vehicle:
This has been the first lesson where I have been confident with the technology we have been using. I love the Mario Kart Wii game and I found it really fun to create my own vehicle. This reminded me of the excitement I would feel in Primary School when we were given the freedom to create and draw our own character and this is an excitement I hope to be able to bring to my own classroom which due to this lesson I have many invaluable ideas which I can take forward with me. If doing this in a classroom I would provide a range of materials for the children to choose from so they could choose different colours and textures to cut and stick onto the vehicle they were creating. This activity could then be extended in so many different directions which is what we were to discuss in small groups after having created our vehicles.
We created a poster based upon the Mario Kart Wii game and an activity we could extend to Inter Disciplinary Learning (IDL). Whilst creating our poster we found ti difficult to put activities under specific areas of the curriculum as most of our activity ideas were cross-curricular and so covered more than one area of the curriculum. We decided our activities would be based upon the design of a track for the cars to race around, we would encourage the children to create a track to manoeuvre Beebot around, this included writing directional instructions specific to their track for their peers to follow, creating a short animation film of Beebot moving around their track and writing a reflective blog throughout the whole experience. This is one example of the inter-disciplinary learning Games-Based Learning allows. From these activities we covered Maths, Art, Technology and Literacy however we had many ideas of how we could have extended this evan further to different areas of the curriculum, beginning to incorporate children’s movement through health and wellbeing. Some of our Experiences and outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence as seen in our poster below included
- ‘I can describe, follow and record routes and journeys using signs, words and angles associated with direction and turning’ MTH 1-17a
- ‘I can present my writing in a way that will make it legible and attractive for my reader, combining words, images and other features’ LIT 1-24a
- ‘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
(Education Scotland, 2004)
Today’s lesson made me excited for the future and provided me with the ideas and ignited my passion to use Games-Based Learning in a classroom one day as I have explored, researched and discovered the benefits and possibilities it can bring to learning. Mario Kart for Wii is a game which has been around for a while, since my childhood, and so I am familiar and confident with it however there are several new games which could also be relevant and valuable to learning opportunities which the children may have more knowledge in than I do. This is not something to be feared though as I can learn from the children and this would also be an exciting opportunity for them to teach me aspects of the game I might not be aware of.
Education Scotland (2004) Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available at: 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:06 March 2018]
Higher Education Academy (2017) Gamificaiton and Games-Based learning [Online] Available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/gamification-and-games-based-learning [Accessed: 06 March 2018]
McLeod, S. (2015) Jean Piaget [Online] Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html [Accessed: 06 March 2018]
McLeod, S. (2014) Lev Vygotsky [Online] Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html [Accessed: 06 March 2018]