My team and I are always on the look out for new games or applications that can added to our Rich Learning Projects or to support our literacy and numeracy programs. I am lucky enough to work as part of a fantastic, like minded team (and school) who are interested in finding the best games for our classrooms. The following has come after experimenting with games in the classroom and I hope this helps and encourages you to give gaming a try in your classroom.
When selecting games, like apps it is important to keep in mind a few key details:
I think of digital games in three ways.
There are sandbox style games which are open ended, creative and function more like digital lego (for example Minecraft, Scratch). These games are fantastic because you can build your unit around the game or have the game work around your unit.
Then there are stimulus games, which function as a starting point for literacy or numeracy, for example playing Sega racing for maths data.
And thirdly, games for teaching content, where the focus is on getting from A to B or teaching content (Where in time is Carmen Santiago, Mathletics)
Similarly to apps, digital games need to be carefully scrutinised before use in your classroom. I also believe that not all games are created equal. There is an increasing focus on 21st Century Skills and for good reason. So much of what we must prepare our students for is unknown. In order for this to work with most thigns ICT the emphasis needs to be on the teacher as a facilitator of knowledge and skill development rather than a dictator of it. I don’t know java script, or how to write using HTML but that doesn’t stop me from letting my students explore and develop their skills in it. What I do know is that using games solely reasons such ‘engagement’ really isn’t good enough.