The title games can include console, the add-ons at the side of our Facebook or Google+ pages, Apps; and if we think really hard we might even remember outdoor games and board-games. I think it is safe to say we all enjoy playing games in one or more of these formats.
Why do we love games?
The love of games comes from the mechanics that draw us in to play them to start with. If we look at any game and it’s features we will always find they have engaging activities, we feel safe and motivated even if we don’t succeed initially, scaffolded levels encourage us to achieve goals. We are rewarded and continually challenged. You may notice that all the highlighted word used to describe games are also those that as educators we try to incorporate and embrace in our classroom. So why don’t we include more games into our curriculum? Don’t get me wrong, I recognise the fact that many junior primary classes include and incorporate games into their daily activity. I am questioning them being used as an in-depth learning or revision tool for students in the upper primary and secondary classes. Why is it that once we hit a certain age all games stop and we have to start “real” learning? I know the number of educational games increased daily. The platforms they can be played on are becoming more portable and accessible. We need to analise what games can teach us and how this can be integrated in to the curriculum. ACMA released a report titled “Media and Communications in Australian Families 2007“ On page 33 of this report, the author indicates:
The main benefit of video/computer games identified by parents is their capacity to help children develop hand-eye coordination. Other benefits include learning through education games, development of cognitive and computer skills, and entertainment.
This perception, I believe, is not just isolated to parent’s. The community in general would make the same assumptions, and for teacher to actively and openly promote the fact that they use computer games to teach could be frowned upon. As with any innovative curriculum there is sure to be push-back. This is the opportunity to inform and educate others on the benefits of games beyond those stated in this research.
I have a simple analysis tool to help look at games and analyze their educational value and ways to incorporate them into the classroom curriculum. In this I am particularly focussing on electronic games.
This give a complete overview of all games and their educational value and application. If you wish to find out more about how I am implementing games into the primary curriculum please feel free to contact me on twitter at @rachbath.