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Are you gamifying your classroom this year?

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Started by Monika Kern 17 Jan 2014 11:44am () Replies (6)

Learning through games / Gamification / Game based Learning has become one of my favourite topics in 2013: When done well, your students can apply most or all KCs within the game environment. While I don't have my own classroom to gamify, I am able to observe it in my own home between my sons and their friends, and I was fortunate to run some Minecraft sessions with y7-9 students at one of our local schools during term 4.

What benefits could Gamification provide for your students? Beyond simply an on-ramp to learning, you might want to look at these ideas:

Minecraft is one of my favourite games for game based learning, as a sandpit game it allows open-ended tasks to suit many educational topics. Head on over to the Minecraft Teachers VLN Group for more specific information on this, and watch out for Educamps etc. where Minecraft might well be a topic :)

My oldest son has recently developed quite an obsession with the Kerbal Space Programme (KPS): On the surface a 'fun' sandbox-style space flight simulator helping creatures to conquer space, but when you look into it more, it is a highly sophisticated mini replica of our solar system. Players experiment with the best combination of engines, fuels, solar panels etc. to visit the different planets which feature different gravity, atmospheres, etc. Wikipedia says "The game has been praised for its realistic representation of orbital mechanics". With limited knowledge of physics etc. it has been fascinating for me to listen and watch the steep learning curve he went through as he now navigates a lot more confidently through orbits, creates 'nodes', talks about the planes of planets' orbits etc. Well worth a look for secondary school teachers!

So what are your plans for 2014 - will your students learn through games and what games might you use?

If you would like to learn more about Gamification, have you thought about enrolling into a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)? Coursera offer a course on Gamification for free. I am tempted to enrol - who is game to join me?


  • Jared Stein (View all users posts) 17 Jan 2014 4:21pm ()

    Hi Monika

    What an intriguing post. I'm only new on VLN today but your topic caught my eye as my son has just got into playing Minecraft through another student playing it in the last couple of weeks of school last term. I have to admit I had never heard of it before then as well and never realy thought of it as an eductional tool but now can really see some benefits of it.

    Speaking of games I was looking through some of my old resources and stumbled upon "Times Attack" which I bought 3 years ago. The grahics in this game are pretty good and from what I understand there's been updates too. I got my son to play this game over the last few days and can see how some of the KC's can be attained through the use of video games.

    Will definately be investigating this facet of learning further.


  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 17 Jan 2014 10:17pm ()

    Thanks for the alert about the free course, Monica. I've just signed up. I'm not sure how long I'll last once things get busy again, but I'm keen to give it a go!

    I had planned to get busy playing Minecraft over the holidays, but it hasn't happened - yet.....


  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 17 Jan 2014 11:46pm ()

    Here is another interesting link about Gamification I just came across: http://elearningindustry.com/gamification-meets-mobile-learning-4-best-practices

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 28 Jan 2014 4:35pm ()

    Is anyone else here signed up for the Gamification course on Coursera, referred to by Monika? It got underway yesterday - there are people from ALL around the world taking part. I'm keen to know if there are any other Kiwi teachers there with me? I don't think it's too late to take part. I'm doing the Free version, so won't get a pretty certificate at the end....

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 28 Jan 2014 4:49pm ()

    Hi Carol,

    I am enrolled, too, but will have to make a start still;) also on the free version!

    Cheers, Monika

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Learning through games

Learning through games

Learning games or serious games are about taking the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills kids often develop playing other forms of video games but in an education context.