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DISCUSSION POST: Break out the games in your classroom PT1

Started by Tessa Gray 30 Oct 2019 2:30pm () Replies (1)


Risk board gameGames in the classroom is a theme we often return to in Enabling e-Learning. Break out the games in your classroom is the first of a series of four discussion threads, posted this year and the next talking about the value and place of games, game-based learning and game development in the classroom. In this first instalment, we take a peek at games for learning.


Humans enjoy overcoming challenges and love playing games. Our ability to imagine, analyse, communicate and collaborate (amongst other things), means it’s in our DNA. So what’s in a game - fun, strategy, fantasy, imagination, luck, skill, conflict, competition, collaboration?


What do you think makes a game - separate to other human activities? Post your definitions of characteristics of a game in the comments section below.

Games have also been part of our curriculum. Outdoor games with players, rules and skills, competition (touch rugby, netball), games with collaboration, strategy and reward (capture the flag), card games and board games; offer the opportunity to think, plot, plan, react, adapt, master, all the while building social skills and self-esteem, as well as learning about rules, competition, fair play and values. 


Games come in different genres or formats (such as, puzzles, adventure, strategy) and often share elements that make them a game, ie: players, objects, story, scene. Video games also come in different genres including; Simulation games, First Person Shooter, Real Time Strategy, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, Role Playing Game, Massively Multiplayer Online and more. Make-believe games (including role-play) involve imagination and imitation and enable players  to take on other roles (heroes), fulfil fantasies, analyse and interpret scenarios, overcome conflict, create new outcomes, using original creations and assets (paper, props, scenery). 


In this Enabling e-Learning video, Games as a context for learning, Rachel Bolstad has some tips for teachers wanting to find out more about games for learning.



From Checkers to Candy Crush, from Capture the Flag to Pokemon Go, the challenge of learning through curiosity, strategy and play are a fundamental part of our cognitive and social well-being development. Games have a remarkably close connection to theories of how we learn and effective pedagogies for how we teach. Building in a game a day (plugged or unplugged) could help increase motivation, increase knowledge retention and mental cognition, encourage responsibility through controlled collaboration and competitiveness, and of course, problem-solving skills (10 Benefits to Playing Games in the Classroom - Teach Starter Blog). You only need to Google a few key terms to see what pops up in terms of research in this area. What’s not to like about games?



But what about video games? Do these have the same learning potential and value as well? Or does having a screen add another dimension of complexity, that we need to discuss further?



What games did you play when you were a child? What did you learn from playing games?


Ask your students what games they play. Ask them what skills they need to play the games and what makes them fun or what makes them what to go back and play this game some more.


How do you or could you add a game a day to your classroom teaching? Feel free to post your findings and experiences below.


Join us in the next instalments as we explore how (and why) we might introduce Games Based Learning, Gamification and Game Design in our classrooms using e-learning tools and strategies.



Also see:

Gamification - Enabling e-learning (TKI)

Teaching Strategies: What Students Might Learn from Playing Board Games

Using Minecraft for game-based learning in the classroom  (EEL discussion VLN)

Digital gaming and games for learning ((EEL discussion VLN)

Game-based learning: are you playing? (Older EEL discussion VLN)

Join this group to contribute to discussions.