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Gamestar Mechanic: Gamification Made Easy

Gamestar Mechanic: Gamification Made Easy
Children in the 21st century experience media in ways that are vastly different from any previous generation. Social networking, user-created content and video games provide a level of interactivity that was unthinkable a generation ago. As a result, educators are rethinking educational practices that have long been taken for granted. Many have come to the conclusion that the answers they're looking for lie in making video game design a central part of the curriculum. Proponents of game design in the classroom say that it promotes students' systems thinking, problem solving and critical analysis skills. Best of all, including game design in the classroom drastically increases student engagement with the material, thus increasing achievement. VIDEO: Learning STEM Skills by Designing Video Games (Time: 06:40) Immersive Teaching Gamestar Mechanic is a one-stop solution for teachers who see the potential of game design being included in their classroom, but may not know where to begin. Related:  Online games

Games to Teach Financial Literacy Financial Literacy Month is April -- just around the corner -- and it's never too early to prepare. Personally, I believe this is a great opportunity to use games in an intentional way to teach students financial literacy skills. Games can be used as a "hook" or anchor activity, as well an instructional activity that is revisited throughout a unit of instruction. A game can help scaffold the learning of important content as well as providing context for application of content. If you really trust the design of the game, it can also be an excellent assessment tool! Fellow Edutopia member Brian Page (on Twitter @FinEdChat) has long been an advocate for financial literacy education and innovative ways for students to engage in it. Bite Club In Bite Club, players manage a "day club" for vampires. Save for retirementPay down debtManage current consumption Brian says, "I prefer Bite Club as a game-based learning day alternative, and as an anchor activity. Gen i Revolution Financial Football

Teaching Tools: Using Online Simulations and Games Students who are passionate gamers can talk a blue streak about the virtual online worlds where they invest their free time and energy. Usually, of course, they get to play only when they're not at school. But why not bring gaming into the classroom? Gaming remains new territory for most schools. Evoke Social Change This spring, several teachers introduced their high school students to an alternate reality game that challenges players to solve big global challenges. Here's how it works: Each week, a new chapter from a graphic novel introduces players to a different challenge from the not-so-distant future. Paul Allison, an English teacher at East-West School of International Studies in New York, has been playing Evoke right alongside his students. Allison has seen a mix of reactions among students, who are also reflecting on their experience on a site called Youth Voices. As Allison explains in this recent blog post: This work has become such a passion this spring.

Ideas for Using Minecraft in the Classroom As is the nature of sandbox games, players can roam free, choosing objectives as they go. Because Minecraft has such open possibilities and potential, the teacher can choose how he or she wants to use it. Just as the student has the ability to be creative, the teacher has the same. That can be overwhelming, but luckily, there is a tool for using Minecraft created by teachers for teachers. MinecraftEdu provides a custom mod, basically a customized modification of the game, that helps facilitate organization and focus for teachers to use Minecraft effectively. For those noobs out there that need a push in the right direction, here are some introductory project or lesson ideas. 1) Explore Real Life Buildings There are many already-created structures that you can import into the game and have students explore. 2) Practice Ratio and Proportion 3) Learn About Survival 4) Visualization and Reading Comprehension

What Can We Learn from Gaming? I have been thinking a lot recently about video gaming and what we can learn from it as educators. This is not a new concept or a new discussion. I've been seeing things happen in my classroom that really make me think there's something to this idea. My recent reflections and changes in classroom practice don't actually involve my students playing games to learn new skills or concepts (though there is research about the positive effects of this), but rather on the broader structure of games in relation to classroom practices. For one, while watching my students play games I notice that they easily just click 'retry' or 'new game' or 'start over' and keep trying until they master whatever skill that game's level requires. In addition, games provide immediate feedback. Games also have a purpose, an underlying goal. Don't think that things are as perfect as they sound. I would love to know your thoughts.

Game-Based Learning to Teach and Assess 21st Century Skills Game-Based Learning, and particularly serious games that teach content, are fast becoming utilized in the classroom. Frequent success stories are appearing, from Minecraft in the elementary classroom to games that teach civics. There is curriculum that pairs World of Warcraft with language arts standards, and many other variations where the gaming focus is on content. What about 21st-century skills? Yes, games can be used to teach and assess 21st-century skills! As the conversation in education reform moves forward, and educators are increasingly leveraging 21st-century skills, we need to consider how to couple games with reform. Collaboration MMOs are hugely popular. Communication All of the games above, which require collaboration, also require communication. Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving We must find time for students to play these games in and out of the class to teach content and 21st-century skills.

How I turned my classroom into a 'living video game'—and saw achievement soar By Joli Barker Read more by Contributor March 12th, 2013 In this innovative environment, students are active players in their own educational game. The notion that struggling and failing is important to learning runs counter to traditional approaches to U.S. education. In fact, failure and its accompanying “F” grade stigmatizes a student as unprepared or “challenged” and is usually seen as a predictor of failure in future grades. In the world of gaming, however, the very elements of struggle, challenge, and failure that discourage kids in the classroom become the primary drivers of engagement and achievement. In 2011, after 14 years of teaching, I decided to transform my second grade classroom into a living video game. How to keep the attention of students is an ongoing topic of conversation among educators. I use QR codes and augmented reality codes to help students move independently from one activity to the next.

Serious Tips for Using Serious Games in Class Experts on issue-oriented computer simulations offer advice on how to do it right. We asked some serious-game experts about how teachers can get the most out of them in the classroom. Here's their advice: Do a Dry Run First, give yourself some gaming homework. Let the Kids Go Nuts Make sure the students get enough time with the game to thoroughly explore different scenarios and make their own mistakes. Have a Postgame Plan "No matter what the game or the subject, the important thing to do is to use the game as a catalyst for something else," says Ian Bogost, associate professor of computational and digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who is also an adviser for the Serious Games Summit at the annual Game Developers Conference. Help students link the game's content to events in the real world with classroom talks and writing assignments or by providing other media, such as documentaries and news clips. Encourage Open Conversation

Hot Potatoes Home Page Top Issue-Oriented Computer Simulations Check out these serious games to see what the buzz is all about. Interested in trying out serious games? Here's more information about those mentioned in the article "Computer Games Explore Social Issues," as well as others that are generating gamer buzz. Real Lives This game, from Educational Simulations, randomly assigns players the identities of people from different parts of the world, and players must guide their characters' decisions -- from birth to death -- about work, health, education, and love based on the opportunities and disadvantages encountered in that society. Karma Tycoon Earn good karma and learn the financial logistics (applying for grants, juggling credit) of running a nonprofit organization such as an animal shelter or a senior center while striking a balance between quality of service and the number of people you can help. Democracy2 In this complex and detailed political simulation from Positech Games, you head an imaginary country. Homeland Guantanamos Food Force

GameBuilder Get Started Games Appeal to Your Students’ Need to Succeed Use electronic games to: Reinforce learning by having students quiz themselves on their own time. Build excitement by having students cooperate or compete with each other as individuals or teams. Choose your game Choose from templates for many different games. You decide how long the game should be by the number of questions you enter. Students receive immediate feedback and can play the game as often as they wish. Click on Get Started to begin Begin by clicking on the Get Started link at the top of the page to see a list of directions. Wisconsin Technical College System faculty and staff members have an unlimited account and do not need to purchase a subscription.

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