Many Education Games Are Worksheets with Points. 6 ways to find better learning games.

ECM 155: EdGaming expert Kae Novak tells us how to find good learning games for kids.

Stop telling kids that every game is fun. They’re not. Some stink. Some rock. The word “game” doesn’t make learning great. Games shouldn’t be worksheets with points. There’s research behind good games. Learn to tell the difference. Your students will thank you.

Pedagogy first, then technology. Kae Novak

Listen to Kae Novak talk gaming on iTunes

Listen to Kae Novak online

Where are we going wrong with games in the classroom? As Kae Novak @kzenovka shares in the show, too many games have a “chocolate on broccoli” approach. She should know, she’s the chair of the ISTE Games and Simulations network. She teaches us all how to use games in the classroom. Kae says,

What is chocolate on broccoli? I asked teachers on the ECM Awesome Educator Network. They say:

  • “Where the students are “told”  – eat this [game name omitted] game. It’s good for you.” Ann Oro @njtechteacher
  • “Pretty much all of the drill and practice ‘games’ are like that. They seemed to work 20 years ago when computers were new and novel. Kids are far beyond that today.” Alfred Thompson @alfredtwo
  • Dr. Lee Graham@ak_leeg says the teachers she instructs, “call those games ‘computerized worksheets.’”

When I taught my children math facts, flashcards got boring. They preferred Math Baseball. It helped. Memorizing happens. But if it is the only thing happening, you’re not educating.

What can good games do for us?  Ernie Easter, 35-year retired teacher from Maine, says,

I have seen the results [of Minecraft] with my three granddaughters, ages 6, 8 & 10, at home. Our 8-year old’s reading blossomed when she started playing Minecraft and watching the videos. Her language expression also just exploded.

In a good game, learning is part of the fun. Let’s find good games. Let’s teach with them.

6 Ways to Find Good Games for Learning

  1. Understand what makes a good game. Jim Gee has researched what makes a good game: identity, interaction, production, risk taking, customization, and agency. The first step in understanding a “good game” is reading Gee’s paper “Good Video Games and Good Learning.” It explains good games simply.
  2. Become a game master. Kae says to readThe Multiplayer Classroom by Lee Sheldon. It will help you create exciting good game learning experiences.
  3. Find Good Games. Kae likes the Games for Change website. They focus on the “good games model.” She says you should still check every game before using them with kids. (After learning what a good game is, you can find them yourself on sites like  Graphite, Appolicious, and Gamifi-ed.)
  4. Learn Best Practices. Join the ISTE Games and Simulations Network.
  5. Connect with other teachers using games. Kae has two ways: 1) MetaGame Book Club and the 2) Inevitable Betrayal Educator Guild.
  6. Consider how games can teach more. In addition to learning things, some games can impact attitudes, motivation, and successful habits. (Note for educators: Kae says games can also impact the affective domain, not just the cognitive domain.)
Before I write a show’s blog post, teachers are talking about the show. We do this on the Every Classroom Matters Awesome Educator Network. It is a closed group on Facebook. You’re invited if you’re an educator.

8 Every Classroom Matters Shows with Gaming/Gamification Experts

Listen and learn more about gaming.

Some games are computerized worksheets. That is what Game Designers Mean by 'Chocolate on Broccoli." Dr. Lee Graham

The post Many Education Games Are Worksheets with Points. 6 ways to find better learning games. appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.


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