This week I looked at game technology and the evolving resources that educators can use to make educational engaging games. Games can help in the memorization of material as well as provide more interactive features that can exercise underlying concepts and ideas that correspond to higher-level thinking. Students can even access the ‘creating’ level of Bloom’s Digital/Revised Taxonomy by producing their own games, thereby reinforcing the material by teaching.
Key Issues and Concepts
As an English language learner (ELL) lecturer generally, and teaching in Thailand specifically, games are seen as an integral component to a language lesson. My TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) training used the ESA approach: engage, study and activate. Games can be used in any of the three phases, but it is relied upon heavily in the engage and activate phases due to the fact that they create interest and excitement in the topic; the games aim at strengthening vocabulary and grammar recall. While teaching Buddhism, I’ve used games in a “Jeopardy-like” PowerPoint manner, reviewing for quizzes and tests with students in teams and competing for prizes. After completing the learning activity, I would like to integrate zondle.com into the curriculum with weekly topics that students can practice with while earning points toward their homework grades. In my primary and secondary-aged tutoring classes I use more traditional games such as Uno and Scrabble; sometimes the games are used as a distraction while I carry on a conversation, as the students are less shy when they have some stimulation, or as a tool for description for young learners.
What exactly is emergence?
Sweester (2006) quotes “complex systems are distinguished from systems that are merely “complicated” by the possibility of emergence. Emergence is the process of deriving some new and coherent structures, patterns, and properties in a complex system (Holland, 1998).”
I made a quiz for students in my 8th grade Buddhism class using Zondle. I added questions to a general form and students can then choose the specific game they wish to learn with. The graphics where great and the controls can allow students to play games a number of times until they master the concepts or only once for an actual grade.
Previously, I’ve tried to use online, digital games in a group setting inside the classroom to motivate students through competition, although the school wifi connection caused the game to lag and even lose connectivity at times, turning into a frustrating event for me and an un-engaging time for the students. Luckily I always have a back-up plan as I’ve learned to never count on an internet connection 100% in the classroom.
Observations and Conclusions
Overall, this is a resource that I will continue to use, albeit a learning activity outside of the classroom. The ability to create games at a more technical level that I can save and have ready-to-use on my laptop inside the classroom is a goal. I’d like to make specific graphics in my Buddhism classes.
Holland, J. (1998) Emergence: from Chaos to Order. Oxford: Oxford University
Sweetser, P. (2006). An Emergent Approach to Game Design — Development and Play. Retrieved from https://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-1870298-dt-content-rid-19160412_1/courses/EDU625.901238026230/Documents/Unit%205%20Resources/Emergent%20Games.pdf