"An effective learning environment, and for that matter an effective creative environment, is one in which failure is OK – it's even welcomed. . . . In game theory, this is often spoken of as the 'magic circle': you enter into a realm where the rules of the real world don't apply – and typically being judged on success and failure is part of the real world. People need to feel free to try things and to learn without being judged or penalised."
This quote from the article "The seduction secrets of video game designers" stirs a lot of thought in me to be used within the classroom. A new focus in the education world is Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset and that means allowing students the ability to NOT be afraid of making mistakes. School does such a great job of ingraining F= Failure, that they are afraid of the word. Games allow students to fail, over and over, without feeling penalized. They can explore and learn in a more natural way.
Giving students interesting tools, a goal, and TIME to explore and play without fear of being docked percentages or points is a game-changer *hehe* because it's so different and backwards than the traditional way school has been presented for so long.
Games also allow students to feel in control. Schools often create mini-worlds where the teacher is a dominant, all-knowing figure and students are the minions who work hard to memorize specific tasks each day. Giving students autonomy, in any way possible - not just in a gaming world, goes a long way with students. There is a joy that comes from planning, making choices, and watching the outcomes unfold. This is also a great teaching tool to prepare students for future decision-making!
Finally, games can teach the timeless mantra: practice makes progress. The more effort, dedication, and care put into a task, the better it can become. This isn't just in games- it's in all parts of life!
Are video games meant to educate? Or entertain?
Although some video games are meant to be educational, they lose the "fun" factor. And some of those entertaining games are losing the opportunity to benefit students with more chances of learning. There is a way to bridge this gap.
I like the words "facilitate learning" that were pointed out. Instead of jamming information into the player's heads, or having a game seriously lacking in the fun, a good question can actually actually facilitate the learning . Educational games can make a big jump towards closing this gap by finding a way to make their goal more interesting to learn from. I also liked the point made of students being willing to self-educate because they were just so interested in the topic. It's a small step towards bridging the gap.
"Enhance the game experience without getting in the way of the fun!"
It was really enlightening and fun to watch this teacher introduce his Star Trek Gamelab design. It demonstrates the important components to running a successful Gamelab unit. There was a fun hook, it explained the details well, and I really like the QR codes being incorporated throughout the room. That is a piece of the design I'd like to explore more. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the best technology to use this piece... yet!!
I also really liked how the installments do things such as introduce characters, or add to the overall adventure theme of the game. In my own Percy Jackson themed unit, I could consider adding some more character installments (maybe Titans breaking out and needing to be conquered!) to spice up a piece here or there.
Being that I was born into a rural household in the 90s, many of the games I watched in the video weren't familiar to me. I have read research and seen information on some of the earlier arcade games, but the first game that was actually one I felt familiar with was Super Mario Brothers from 1985. I at least remember some friends and cousins playing this from time to time as a child. More often though, we have played this style of game in recent years through the Wii systems.
During the Part 2 video, I recognized the Disney's Aladdin game. I can definitely see the progression of pixels, graphics, and plot evolving from Mario to this style. Also, King of Fighters is definitely familiar from the Arcade, although I never played it much myself.
The next familiar game to myself came from much later years, Tron 2.0. I really didn't have an interest in many "shooter" style games, so many years and style went by without me noticing much.
Finally, Minecraft is something I've actually experienced playing with my husband. I think he knew it would be something closer to my interest-level. I realize the graphics are a little more old-school when compared to the other modern games, but I'm assuming that's some of the appeal.
To see the evolution of graphics with video clips shows how far technology has come and we can assume it will continue to move forward in remarkable ways. My children are definitely much more interested and involved in video games than I was, so I'm sure my household will be more immersive in this technology.
Here are some games I'd like to keep embedded for my classroom use:
This is a really fun way to help students practice their typing skills!
This tile interactive tile game is a great way for students to challenge their thinking with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.