In a culture where technology dominates the life of most school-aged children and young adults, it does not make sense for teachers to not use technology in their classroom. The use of technology in a classroom can be used sparingly or used substantially in every subject. Over the last decade, there have been many additions to the digital games produced. There are many different genres that cover a broad range of material. There are games (whether computer or handheld) that can be used to teach and motivate students to learn. Researchers are realizing that students using video games to learn material are having great success comprehending the subject matter, remembering the subject matter, and yearning to be learning more. These next three articles show how teaching in new ways can benefit the students.
“ Using the Technology of Today, in the Classroom of Today”
The article “Using the Technology of Today, in the Classroom of Today” says gaming is a widespread activity in our society. It is estimated that “more than 45 million homes have video-game consoles” and that “over 154 million Americans play video games” (p. 4). Because of the substantial amount of time students spend playing games, an obvious benefit to using digital gaming (video games) is that students are FAMILIAR with digital gaming. Researchers have found that these games improve communication and collaboration skills, problem solving, and assessing information through imagery.
The goal of the game is to successfully build an empire. Players must make decisions for their civilization – where to build, how big to build, when to build, and determine if building will ultimately benefit the civilization.
My experience with Civilization Games:
My Junior year in high school, I took Urban Affairs. We learned about the benefits and disadvantages of rural areas, towns and cities. We used the Sims City to create a town to the size that we wanted. We needed to provide all the citizens with energy (solar, hydro, nuclear, coal), with water, with roads, with schools and police/firefighters. Any area lacking one of those things would turn “black” and you had yourself a “slum”. It was a great learning tool for that class.
Unlike most civilization games that appeal to youth and pop culture, the game Lure of the Labyrinth was created with educational intentions. The game, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, was produced to improve the pre-algebra mathematics learning and literacy. It is a web-based, puzzle adventure, played over many sessions. Throughout the game, players are able to communicate with teammates on a message board. Players can seek advice about solving puzzles, but because no puzzle is ever the same, no one can simply receive an answer. This game allows students to:
This article gave many statistics that were profound to me. A clear “AH-HA” moment was when the article stated that many children are playing more videogames today than watching television. If students are spending that much time video gaming, it is clear that video games could be very impactful in the classroom. I did not know about the many types of games that are out there – games like Civilization and the Lure of the Labyrinth . I would love to use games like these in my classroom. I feel that the use of videogames in my classroom will increase their intrinsic rewards and will begin to love learning.
“ Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom”
The New York Times article, “Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom”, teachers are throwing away their worksheets and typical teaching methods, so that they can connect to students. What is in a typical child’s living room or bedroom? The answer is video game systems. Though it may seem strange to many parents and veteran teachers, students are responding positively to this new method of students using video games to learn. One public middle school in New York City is using Quest to Learn, a program that recognizes that digital games are central to the lives of their students. Every aspect of Quest to Learn is designed to be a game – even when it doesn’t involve a computer.
This New York Times article had me inspired! I would love to teach at a school like that. Simply putting a few computers into a classroom will not change students’ performances, but integrating technology into the curriculum can. This school used the Quest to Learn program. Every day, every situation, every activity was set up like a video game. Students are engaged, but not only that, they are learning to do skills that are needed for anyone wanting a college education or a job in the 21 st century. In the last ten years, the amount of time spent playing a video game has doubled. That means less time doing homework, and more time playing in virtual worlds. Paul Howard-Jones says that his research shows that “children’s engagement levels are higher when they are anticipating a reward but cannot predict whether they will get it.” Video games can be the thing that motivates and engages students in the classrooms of tomorrow.
“ Educational Video Games Effective In Classrooms if Certain Criteria Are Met”
The article “Educational Video Games Effective in Classrooms if Certain Criteria Are Met” in ScienceDaily acknowledges that studying and playing are not incompatible activities. The article suggests that video games be used to compliment the traditional teaching methods. Research suggests that graphical adventure games are the most flexible kinds of video games that allow the greatest amount of subjects to be covered.
Educational Video Games Effective In Classroom If Certain Criteria Are Met
Researchers believe that an educational video game must be designed with the possibility for evaluation, adaptability and ease of integration into the lesson.
Teachers need to be able to keep track of students’ progress and performance as they play at home.
The technology must also be able to adapt to the needs of each student. In the article, Moreno-Ger states that "The machine needs to be taken advantage of so that the game is not static, rather it varies depending on the student's profile.”
This article was a more realistic article compared to the story about the middle school in New York City. That school was designed for video games, but like most schools that I will probably teach at, video games may only be a supplement if even allowed at all. This article pointed out the need for the game to change based on the need of the individual student and that the video game must also be integrated properly. Both points made me consider what games and how I could incorporate into my lessons.
All three articles emphasized the need of having technology as a part of the average school day. Researchers know how much time and effort the average child, teenager, and young adult puts in video gaming. It is time to stop using out-dated methods of teaching that have little impact on a student’s willingness to learn and begin to use the technologies of the 21 st century to motivate and teach the students of today. Video games in the classroom improve communication and collaboration skills, problem solving, and assessing information through imagery. They also get the students use to the technology that they will have to use in college and work place. I hope that I will be able video games in my future classroom to help teach language arts, mathematics, social studies, sciences, and other skills like creativeness and teamwork.
Klopfer, E., Groff, J., Haas, J., & Osterweil, S. (2009). Using the technology of today, in the classroom of today. The Education Arcade . Retrieved from http://education.mit.edu/papers/GamesSimsSocNets_EdArcade.pdf
Plataforma SINC. (2009). Educational video games effective in classroom if certain criteria are met. ScienceDaily. Retrived from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210134746.htm