How Educational Video Games Can Be Used in Class
It doesn’t seem so long ago when we used to gather as a family around the TV for the weekly primetime Saturday night gameshow bonanza. I used to remember we would all be shouting at the box, trying to prove that we had the skill and the knowledge to challenge the contestant but ultimately trying to beat each other in the room. The types of game shows developed over time; they became more immersive, more challenging, and sometimes quite addictive as it became a staple of family time. As we shouted the ‘right’ answers at the TV on a Saturday night, it seemed that gaming, as part of learning in the classroom, took a long time to come through.
There has been an unquestioned stigma that educational video games in the classroom could lead to ‘dumbing down’ of a lesson, that there should be more emphasis on learning, and that it could be seen as a big ‘no-no’ should there be an observation or inspection. We know from our own experiences in education where, more often than not, we were never exposed to this style of learning and we survived and in most cases, thrived! It could also be said that students are too immersed gaming nowadays, and that these habits shouldn’t be in the classroom as well. With all of these counter-arguments, why should this style of teaching be embraced and hopefully valued?
Tapping into one of the draws of gaming can be a major benefit to the classroom; competition. By challenging students through fun and healthy competition it can aid cognitive development for those transferable skills that are critical throughout learning. If the lesson involves problem solving, engaging students with educational video games such as Mosaic at the start of the lesson could allow for pupils to try and beat each other’s highest level or rival the classroom high score. Teachers can give a time limit to see how many levels the students can complete. In a similar fashion, students could be challenged to beat each other in Destroy Numbers, testing their numeracy skills at the same time. Word Race is a great game to improve literacy skills as either a starter of a plenary activity which involves getting the class to join a match and compete with each other. It will definitely get students wanting to use the dictionary at least!
Teaching difficult topics can become a grueling task that can take a lot of mental power and can sometimes zap the fun from the learning process. Why not generate a carrot and stick approach by allowing students to effectively learn the topic and be rewarded with an education-based fun game? By playing Penalty Kick Online students can earn that instant gratification of fun while still developing their numeracy and coordination skills. This proven method can allow pupils to seek the end goal of the main task while being able to score a goal too! Maybe a classic board game could be the fun-quencher that is needed; a game of Chess or Checkers against the computer or another student once they have finished, could be the step-down rather than a shut down of the cognitive workout.
The ability to question is an important skill that is developed through experiences. Teachers encourage students to understand the world around them and to question what is in front of them. This allows them to develop their perceptual and cognitive understanding which can be applied to learning in the classroom. There are many fun and effective ways to undertake this in the classroom using Coolmath Games. The use of Real or Cake could be a quick and easy activity to get students to question what is in front of them. When playing with students, some do find this activity rather difficult! If you want to keep it subject specific, in Geography, undertaking Spin-Art Flags can be a nice little starter activity that can involve the whole class. This brings some healthy competition to the classroom to get students motivated.
Brain training through educational video games can also be a fun way to stimulate cognitive ability in the classroom. On Coolmath Games there are a whole host of puzzles for students to use at the start or end of a lesson or to undertake as part of a reward for doing well or finishing. If puzzles are not the appetite at the time, perhaps some memory games could be more enticing! Research has shown that differing activities while keeping students engaged can have a positive outcome in performance.
Without a doubt, the main benefit of gaming in the classroom is to promote fun through learning. There have been numerous studies that support this approach to learning and happy students can have a direct positive correlation to better results. Engaging students through our educational video games can be a winning strategy and the teacher might also get some fun out of it.
Why not bring the fun into the classroom using educational video games on Coolmath Games!