How are games providing new opportunities for differentiation in the classroom?
Forbes (2017) quote of the day by David Copperfield, “Passion will keep you going when the going gets tough”, is, in my opinion, very suiting for the topic of Serious Games in the classroom.
It is important to note that there is a difference between a game and a serious game. For the purpose of this content serious games will be at the heart of the discussion. A serious game is one in which specific learning targets can be achieved following the the format of a game. A serious game is both: (1) to be fun and entertaining, and (2) to be educational (Bellotti, Kapralos, Lee, Morena-Ger, & Berta, 2013). There are studies reported by Bellotti et.al (2013) that suggest properly designed learning games do produce learning while engaging players. It is my belief that with the right mix of serious games and other methods of delivering education we, as educators, can best meet our students’ needs.
Serious games were an unlikely source of curriculum material found in the classroom of the past, however, because of innovations and the educational benefits of serious games they are likely to be seen in the present and continue into the future. Daniel Tack (2013) in his Forbes article about Serious Games reports that it is not a matter of how serious games will become part of the education system, but rather when. He further stresses that demands for ALL student success will ensure that serious games will become a part of our classrooms. Serious games allow, more easily, for differentiated instruction within the classroom–a goal of the modern teacher. Technology advancements in serious games further support this as Bushnell, the founder of Atari, states, “The computer allows you to adapt to each student’s particular skills and speed (Tack, 2013).” He also claims the field of education is going through one of the biggest changes it has seen in the last three thousand years due to educational software (Tack, 2013). Our education system is changing and it is likely serious games will be a part of this change.
Although serious games are unfamiliar territory to myself, according to Mary Ulicask (2010) the number of games with a research basis and designed to address an educational need is increasing. With the database of serious games growing and their effectiveness to help differentiate learning, I find it is worthwhile to include serious games in the educational setting.
A newer term, I have added to my vocabulary more recently is Gamification. Gamificiation is defined by Opresco, Jones, & Katsikitis (2014) as, “as the adaptation and application of game design principles and game interaction elements to workplace processes and behaviors”. We all know from personal experience that games are self-motivating, with that being said it makes sense to try and gamify your classroom. By adding the principles of gamification to our classroom we might engage more students while allowing for learning to take place. According to Kristen Dicerbo (2015), Principal Research Scientist at the Center for Learning Science and Technology at Pearson claims serious games not only hold potential for engagement of students but that they also align themselves well with other theories of learning. Furthermore, an analysis of the research conducted by Opresco, Jones, & Katsikitis (2014) suggests gamification is a promising strategy for encouraging loyalty , productivity, and well being in the workplace. It is important to note that although this study was done for the workplace, that school in itself is a workplace for young adults.
I would like to end with closing thoughts, “I play at work”. I couldn’t agree more that we should all have fun, even at work. Needless to say, I am a strong supporter of adding serious games to the curriculum in order to help students achieve because they, “embody the principles of deeper learning” (Dicerbo, 2010) while allowing the student to enjoy their learning experience. I look forward to what the future has to offer with serious games in the classroom thanks to technology.
Technology is forever changing the way education is approached. This week I spent a moment dabbling in how to present videos. Guess how I learned? The internet tutorials available on youtube coached me through it. I made a tutorial on a possible topic I might base my unit on. I posted it on my google classroom since this WordPress subscription is free and does not support video upload. The link to this is: https://classroom.google.com/c/NDY4MDkxNTgzMVpa
Okay I added a video to my group Wikispace. I hope the following link wors: http://ed637wk4group1.wikispaces.com/Wk6+Video
Bellotti, Francesco & Kapralos, Bill & Lee, Kiju & Moreno-Ger, Pablo & Berta, Riccardo. (2013). Assessment in and of serious games: An overview . Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, 20, 11. doi:doi:10.1155/2013/136864
Clark, Douglas & Tanner-Smith, Emily & Killingworth, Stephan. (2016).
Digital games, design, and learning: A systematic review and meta-analysis Review of Educational Research, (Research-Article), February 22, 2017
Dicerbo, K. (2015). Taking serious games seriously in education. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/7/taking-serious-games-seriously-in-education
Oprescu, F., Jones, C., & Katsikitis, M. (2014). I PLAY AT WORK—ten principles for transforming work processes through gamification. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 14. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00014
Tack, D. (2013). Forbes: Serious games and the future of education. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=http://www.forbes.com/sites/danieltack/2013/09/12/serious-games-and-the-future-of-education/&refURL=https://www.google.com/&referrer=https://www.google.com/
Ulicask, M. (2010). Games in education: Serious games. Future Labs: Innovation in Education, June, February 22, 2017.