Now that our TLLP project is finished, the big question is this: what have I learned and how do I apply it to my next year of teaching.
First, my learning. For the most part, I see games as engaging for students. Most of the kids really enjoyed playing the educational games that we chose. They were excited and some even played the games at home. It’s always easy to give game-playing as homework :).
We used games at various parts in our teaching. Some games worked really well as inquiry provocations; to get the creative and critical juices flowing, to instigate good wondering. Other games took the place of direct instruction, giving students the basic knowledge needed to further their inquiry. Other games gave students the opportunity to practice skills. We used games in various subjects: Science, Social Studies, Health, Math and the Arts.
So, with all of this learning, what does my classroom look like this year? Well, pretty much the same, but better. Stanfield 2.0. I’ve taken the good parts of last year, the games I know work well (and NOT the games that were disappointing) and fit them in to our inquiry-based learning model. And, we are trying out new games! Minecraft Pocket will be making an appearance or two (or three, or four….) and lots more. Keep an eye on this blog for posts and game reviews :).
I wholly believe that games are an integral part of learning. They engage students to obtain background knowledge and further their understanding of important concepts. If they can acquire information while having fun, they become more invested in the topic and are more open to taking risks and furthering their learning through asking deep questions.
Would you rather sit and listen to a teacher talk for half an hour, or would you rather learn that same information through playing a game?