One of the most important things any educator can do is foster an environment where learning and playing are nearly synonymous. Lessons that are fun and engaging are far more likely to result in better outcomes, both in the short and long terms. Game-based learning can promote a desire to learn outside the classroom while transforming the classroom from a place a student must be to a place they want to be.
Increasing Focus and Improving Engagement
Essential to any learning exercise, keeping a student focused and engaged can be much more difficult than it sounds. Kids can memorize hundreds of cards for the latest card-battle game, but have trouble retaining important information long enough to pass a test. Some of this lag comes down to effort; there are incentives to learn the characters of their favorite games. In a student’s eyes, the same cannot necessarily be said for grammar facts, mathematical equations, and other less-than-exciting subjects. Gameplay can draw a student’s focus, and keep their attention, much longer and more easily than boring words on the pages of a book.
Fostering Creativity in the Classroom
A forced, stilted approach to teaching every student in the same way has begun to give way to a more nuanced, inclusive style. This changing landscape affords educators a greater opportunity to foster creativity in the classroom. Using games for learning is an important tool in allowing a student to find their own style of learning. And while not every player will respond in the same way to games, or even every outcome of those games, using games for learning can give educators a way to help students come up with creative resolutions to problems, whether in the game or as part of other classroom situations.
Learning Through Play
There is evidence that games can have positive effects on reading, reasoning skills, and mathematics achievement. Educators have already begun exploring the potential of games for learning, and in the process have helped students explore knowledge in new and fun ways. Using games for learning can help foster greater creativity among students who may not have otherwise engaged with a variety of lessons. With the right game, educators can really tap into the learning potential of every student. However, as effective as gameplay can be, much depends on the construction of the game and the educator’s ability to use it effectively. Games can be a useful tool, but educators must be willing to be flexible with lessons and avoid setting rigid goals.
Read More About the Potential of Games for Creative Learning
- How ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Primes Students for Interdisciplinary Learning, Including STEM – Paul Darvasi
- Learning by Tinkering – Matthew Farber
- The Minecraft Effect – Mimi Ko Cruz
- Minecraft and The Future of Transmedia Learning – Barry Joseph
- Language, Gaming and Possibilities – Antero Garcia
- Level Up Learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games – Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Banner image credit: “Minecraft After School” by Kevin Jarrett is licensed under CC BY 2.0.