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Game-based learning: Are you playing?

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Started by Enabling e-Learning 02 Nov 2011 12:19pm () Replies (16)

There have been some really interesting threads running in the English Online listservs which I thought I'd share here:


Does anyone else here use gaming - or gaming principles - in this way, to support learning?


  • mary jamieson (View all users posts) 10 Sep 2013 9:45pm ()

    Having a 10 year old who loves my ipad, I can relate to your dilemma Tessa.  First of all we have to remember that they are children and that play is how they make sense of the world and learn their place in it. We have a clear expectation for using the iPad for homework.  We use spelling test for word lists to learn and mathletics and other maths apps for basic fact review and practice.  Then there is playtime.  Recently our daughter has shown an interest in learning French. Not sure where this came from but we now have several apps which she is trialling to teach herself French.  She can see how the tool(iPad) can help her learn something new.  I have also found that she only plays with a select few apps.  She is becoming more discerning and critical of apps. This is a good thing and I believe part of the process of becoming digitally literate.

  • anne robertson (View all users posts) 12 Sep 2013 11:37am ()

    This article is interesting - I also heard a programme on the radio last week thsat talked about how just a few hours on (some ) computer games can improve girls' abilities around spatial awareness and cognition to narrow the gap of achievement between boys and girls. 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 10 Sep 2013 1:30pm ()

    There's a problem in my house. I thought it would be nice for my son to have an iPad to play maths games, recognise letters, find patterns, solve problems…but now he uses it to talk to some strange kitty, feed his virtual family, build his box/cube like world, stay alive as a shark and race through some temples.

    It’s hard to take the device off him, hence no device before school, otherwise we'd never leave the house. Sound like this at your place? This could well be the students in your classroom too.

    Just as well there’s some relief when reading, Can Playing Video Games Elevate Your Life? where the author points out, playing games may well help to build life skills such as; learning the rules, achieving success and the importance of keeping score.



    More and more teachers are becoming interested in ways to incorporate Minecraft into teaching and learning. What do you think? Can creating/playing games like this really help our students learn some valuable life lessons? Or is this too much of a stretch?

  • cathie zelas (View all users posts) 10 Sep 2013 2:08pm ()

    Maybe it comes down to the quality of the game. Minecraft seems to have lots of great possibilities e.g. For designing your new school but I still struggle to see the educational benefits of some others.

    I was at a workshop with Kevin Honeycutt yesterday and he had a suggestion that goes off on a slight tangent from this discussion but is probably worth sharing. With his own son he had a requirement that once a week his son showed him something he was using his device for that was enhancing his learning. Maybe this would encourage some reflection on the purpose,of some game choices??

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 10 Sep 2013 9:16pm ()

    Hi Tessa,

    This does sound like my house lol. But more seriously, I can see huge benefit it incorporating suitable creative games into teaching and learning. Students can practise many or even all of the KCs in a context that they are already familiar with or a context they are engaging with: Thinking, using language, symbols and text (coding / programming is a whole new language on top of written or verbal language, managing self, relating to others, participating and contributing (multi-player games).

    I keep on going back to my Playcentre example, we used to take books, paints etc. to the sand pit and therefore engaged the boys that spent all session out there in different activities. Rather than fight the children's interest in games, lets make us of it as the sandpit to which we take the different activities they might be reluctant to engage with.

    On top of that, some of the games will allow the students go way beyond what they could reasonably do "in the real world" and still take action - in my opinion the most relevant and satisfying step in any inquiry process.

    Cheers, Monika

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 13 Aug 2013 12:09pm ()

    Long live the debate...are video games good or bad for learning? Do they really promote bad health and anti-social behaviours? Last week I posted about the negative effects of stooping or leaning over screen devices for too long in, Appropriate digital health and wellness.

    Here's an info-graphic looking at debunking five myths about video gaming. What do you think? Convinced yet?



    You might also like conversations in the VLN on:

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 01 May 2012 8:14am ()


    screenshot 93% houses have gaming devices

    Have you seen this DNZ12 report just out from Bond University and the IGEA?

    While it might be argued the IGEA has a vested interest in painting a rosey picture of the way families use gaming, this readable infographic-style report still provides some interesting 'lines in the sand' regarding the popularity and use of gaming at home:

    >> DNZ12: Digital New Zealand

    What implications mght this have for learning, for the way we connect with families, and for the kinds of experiences we might provide for our students?

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 12 Dec 2011 10:02pm ()

    Thought I'd just share this resource (via Derek Wenmoth's blog) > The Gameit Handbook: A Pedagogy for Game-Based Learning (Poulson & Kober). Derek suggests that:

    "For those unfamiliar with games-based learning, this provides a pretty useful introduction, particularly the early chapters. For those who are more familiar with the concept, the book provides some useful case studies that unpack the ideas more and illustrate a range of contexts in which games-based learning approaches might be used."

  • Marielle Lange (View all users posts) 08 Dec 2011 11:10am ()

    For a rapid introduction to gamification

  • Marielle Lange (View all users posts) 08 Dec 2011 10:52am ()

    "game-stuff/concepts for sneaky educational purposes". 

    Gamification is the buzz word of the day. Tread with caution! Gamification is traditionally defined as : "The use of game play mechanics for non-game consumer applications, products and other related services. (Source: Margaret Wallace, The gamification of everything)".

    One aspect of it, of interest to education is that it is about "Using game techniques to make activities more engaging and fun." In many instances, however, the strategies involved tend to remain at the level of basic behaviourist strategies. The issue here is intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation

    With learning, intrinsic information tends to have more long term benefits than extrinsic one. That doesn't mean that gamification mechanics cannot help boost intrinsinc motivation. It depends on how you approach it. 

    As a rule of thumb, XP, progress bar as Hamish proposes tends to promote more intrinsinc motivation than a leaderboard. 

    Khan academy, for instance, does quite a good job at using game-like mechamics to encourage intrinsic motivation. It is worth reading the lead designer's blog. In particular Khan Academy Profiles: You are what you know and Your challenge, if you choose to accept it…, that explains how exercise analytics are used to drive motivation and bring success. It mostly focuses on encouraging you to master a level before moving to the next. They focus on constant personal progress, not on leaderboard ranking.

    Lee Sheldon is another famous success story. There is a page on building your own Sheldon syllabus (more links).

  • Marielle Lange (View all users posts) 08 Dec 2011 10:12am ()

    The technology you want to use really depends on whether you want to display your content in the browser (no need for the application to be approved) or as a native application (easier for the user to access) or as both.

    If you are after a native application, then flash remains the easier technology to use to deploy across devices (iOS included). 

    If within the browser and no more than a xp bar, then there isn't much programming involved and simple javascript could do the trick. I have provided examples on how this could be done with as little as a google spreadsheet for data storage and javascript for data display, published in a freely hosted wikispaces environment - http://widgeds.wikispaces.com/Scoresheet (or leaderboard).

    You can experiment with it by forking the gsheet leaderboard demo on jsdo.it.

  • Hamish Chalmers (View all users posts) 12 Dec 2011 1:59pm ()

    Thanks for those links Marielle! Not to mention the awesome javascript. We'd planned to go browser-based for this so that will be handy. I'd always thought Iphones couldn't do flash?

  • Hamish Chalmers (View all users posts) 07 Dec 2011 5:55pm ()

    Awesome, thanks Peter. We'll hopefully be getting started on this next week. Will let you know once we've got our job list drawn up. Still just trying to figure exactly what we're going to use. Might have to steer clear of flash for the time being as that'll block out the Apple students...

  • Hamish Chalmers (View all users posts) 02 Dec 2011 12:14pm ()

    A colleague and I are developing a gamification (using game-stuff/concepts for sneaky educational purposes) of English skills tracking through a web-based front-end XP bar! It's a plan for the end of term and we'll see how far our sketchy programming skills get us.

    We're planning on giving students the ability to track their English progress in an XP bar - they'll be able to earn XP from assessments and small demonstrations of skills and process mastery, compare their progress with other students and level up to English awesomeness! 

    For a bit more on games, Claire Amos tracked down this sweet TED talk where Gabe Zichermann talks about gamification and an awesome digital tree in the dashboard of the new Toyota Prius which grows when you drive in an environmentally nice manner and dies when you don't. Loving it! We're getting all amped thinking about other gamification possibilities...

  • Peter Eaton (View all users posts) 02 Dec 2011 5:35pm ()

    I'v been doing a lot of gamification research too.  I'm a sofware developer turned teacher, so let me know if I can help.



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