Gamification

What game have you seen that could help students learn, and how might it be used? 

I’ve been quite hesitant to learn about gamification in the classroom. However, after reading a few blogs and articles, it seems that a number of teachers have found it to be helpful to getting students engaged in their learning. In order to even begin thinking of a game that I might find useful, I had to begin to understand what gaming in the classroom truly is. After reading the Edutopia article Gamification in Education, I learned that “serious games” have been created on a variety of topics including difficult issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict (Davis, 2014). 

I still didn’t fully understand because I wasn’t really sure what a “serious game” was, so I went back to the internet. Two articles that really helped my understanding were: Games in Education: Serious Games from futurelab.org and the EDUCAUSEreview article: Taking Serious Games Seriously in Education.  EDUCAUSEreview states that, “Games can serve as a means of not just developing domain-specific knowledge and skills but also identity and values key to professional functioning. The data from games enable understanding how students approach and solve problems, as well as estimating their progress on a learning trajectory” (Dicerbo, 2015). Futurelab takes the time to define serious games, list different types of activities that could be considered serious games (“Educational Games, Simulations, Social Impact Games, Virtual Reality, Persuasive Games, Games for Change, Games for Good, Alternative Purpose Games, Edutainment, Digital Game Based Learning, Immersive Learning, and Synthetic Learning Environments”), and lists required aspects for appropriate serious games (Ulicsak, 2010).  The use of serious games in the classroom may seem like a no-brainer, but before my reading, I really had no idea there were so many options and so much to think about before picking an activity for my classroom.

Now that I better understand the use of serious games, I needed to be educated on what games I might like to use in my Language Arts or Social Studies classroom. To help with this, I read Using Games for Serious Learning in High School from Edutopia,  50 Great Sites for Serious, Educational Games from the Center for Online Education, 20 Serious Games for School, and  Simply Engaging and Utterly Consuming: #Givercraft 2014 from the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. For my high school English classes, I found the Edutopia article to be the most helpful because it listed games, as well as giving ideas for assessment. The most intriguing games they listed were: 1. That Dragon, Cancer, 2. Life is Strange, 3. 1979 Revolutions: Black Friday, and 4. Firewatch. Each of these games includes a story that students interact with (Farber, 2016).  Another interesting idea is #Givercraft which brings Language Arts together with technology using Minecraft and the book The Giver by Lois Lowry. This gave me the idea of using the texts in my ninth grade LA class and somehow using Minecraft to work with setting (Dkeedy, 2015). Another English game for high school students is Youth Voices. In this game, students learn about writing using social media.

For History and Geography I could use: 1. Quest Atlantis, which allows students to complete quests while traveling through virtual villages, 2. Betwixt Folly and Fates, a day in the life of a 1774 Williamsburg citizen, 3. Global Conflict: Latin America, 4.  Climate Change Interactive, which has students interacting with the social, political, cultural, and scientific aspects of climate change, 5. Darfur is Dying, where students work to continue their refugee camp even with the threat of local militias, 6. Food Force from the World Food program that teaches people about feeding the hungry, 7. 3D World Farmer, allows students to run a farm in Africa while also dealing with poverty and conflict, 8. A Tale in the Desert, a game about economy and community development set in Egypt, 9. Aars Regendi which teaches about politics and economy, 10. Peacemaker, where your decisions create world peace or cause conflict, and 11. World Without Oil. Another source for current world issues games is Games for Change. They have games for all ages and include games on a variety of topics including gender, climate change, family, health, human rights, environment, economics, and education.

Davis, V. (2014, March 20). Gamification in education, Edutopia. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/gamification-in-education-vicki-davis

Dicerbo, K. (2015, July 19). Taking serious games seriously in education, EDUCAUSEreview. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/7/taking-serious-games-seriously-in-education

Dkeedy. (2015, January 25). Simply engaging and utterly consuming: #Givercraft 2014, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://mvlri.org/blog/simply-engaging-and-utterly-consuming-givercraft-2014/

Farber, M. (2016, November 17). Using Games for Serious Learning in High School, Edutopia. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/article/games-for-serious-learning-matt-farber

Jensen, R. (2016, June 03). 50 great sites for serious, educational games, Center for Online Education. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.onlinecolleges.net/50-great-sites-for-serious-educational-games/

S. (2017, March 27). 20 serious games for school, Avatar Generation. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.avatargeneration.com/2013/10/20serious-games-for-school/

Ulicsak , M. (2010, June). Games in education: serious games, futurelab.org Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://media.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/lit_reviews/Serious-Games_Review.pdf

6 thoughts on “Gamification”

  1. I love that you found so many games that you could use with your English courses. I also love the social problem solving that they can entail. What a cool concept – use what kids already know and use (games) and create a world where they use those games to begin thinking about the world around them. Nice 🙂

  2. I am in the same boat as you! I was never really interested in incorporating games into my classroom. It was great to get to do some research online and see how many options there are! And you have quite the list. I will have to take some from your list to take a look at myself.

  3. Thanks for the list of games I will be checking them out for my middle school social studies students. Betwixt Folly and Fates looks interesting and so does the one which takes place in Egypt.

    Melinda

  4. Thanks everyone. I really got into this topic. At first I thought there wouldn’t be any games for LA, but I was wrong.

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