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Just as war makes for some strange bedfellows Games, COVID 19 certainly made for some interesting class-fellows. The search for effective alternatives to the traditional education setting has paved way for refreshing reforms and a much welcome renewed mentality towards enhancing the classroom experience for students using unconventional means. An unwitting contender in these out-of-the-box techniques is using games inside the classroom.
ADVANTAGES OF USING GAMES AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL
It’s a widely held belief that an active learner is a good learner, and the use of games takes full advantage of this principle. Games are fun, interesting, and very effective in retaining student engagement throughout the activity. One of the key factors that make it very effective as an educational tool is the clear goal or victory condition.
A student may not be able to relate to the achievement of learning the Pythagoras theorem in of itself but would be quick to value its applicability if it helped him or his team advance a level inside a game. The potential of using inside the classroom is vast, they can be flexibly adapted to help develop specific skill sets, be they critical thinking, mental math, strategy, or memory training.
Apart from individual perks, can also help develop healthy competition among peers and can provide a platform for students to socialize meaningfully.
EASY TO IMPLEMENT CLASSROOM GAMES
The philosophy of using games to enhance learning is not an altogether new concept. In fact, due to its budding popularity, a lot of online games have been designed to be used inside the classroom for a range of difficulty levels. Some of the popular ones are:
Kahoot is a widely used online learning tool. It uses multiple games that students can play to compete against AI or amongst each other. The advantage of Kahoot is that apart from its premade games and quizzes it allows users to create customized with their own set of questions for a personalized study session.
Bamboozle is another online learning platform that leverages games. It has a wide range of trivia to core concepts. Bamboozle also has zoom compatibility which can allow seamless integration with an online class.
Prodigy is a learning game designed primarily for mathematics. It provides a range of difficulty levels and uses its AI to identify student weaknesses and provide challenges based on individual needs. Prodigy uses bright vibrant visuals and animations to keep students engaged.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
While the prospect of using games to build student engagement inside the classroom may sound tempting, for the uninitiated it can do more harm than good. Careful consideration and planning are pre-requisites for any meaningful cause and all the more for helping shape young minds. While there are many off-the-shelf games available that can be readily implemented into a wide range of curriculums, scrutiny on part of the teacher is essential.
You need to be sure that the content that students are being exposed to is easy to comprehend and more importantly whether it provides a good balance of challenge and accomplishment on part of the student. If a game is too hard, students may quickly lose interest and if the content or purpose of the game is too difficult to comprehend the student may become alienated from the classroom altogether.
Regardless, if you are a dedicated teacher and you wish to improve student engagement in the classroom, we encourage you to walk this extra mile so that your students may walk many more.