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How can computer games can work in schools?

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:54 am
by Bill MacKenty
Insane enthusiasm matched with good teaching is a hard mix to beat. Spend a moment listening to your kids talking about computer and video games. Look at the energy they spend, watch their unbridled excitement, see them write and read voluminous amounts about their passion.

Stitch the game into a well designed curricular lesson, and you’ve got the recipe for harnessing student energy and making learning exciting.

Games work in education.

You can not sit a child in front of a computer for an hour and expect something magical to happen. There has to be planned, deliberate, and conscious teaching. While this is true for all technology use in education, it is especially true for the use of computer games in the classroom.

I’ve been using games successfully in my classroom for years, and I’ve been helping other teachers use games in their classrooms. There are specific circumstances which need to coalesce in order for games to work in education. But games work.

Look at the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement our students show when playing computer games. I am stunned at the discrepancy between how our students respond to traditional instruction, and how they interact with computer games. It’s amazing to see how excited they are about games, how motivated they are, how much work they are willing to do! Even students labeled as “not interested” in school or even “low achievers” display a very different profile when talking about video games.

Enter common sense.

Am I saying we should forsake good teaching and assessment with Team Fortress 2? Of course not. But I am saying there is a disconnect between adults and kids; and this disconnect is defined by multimedia, television, and the internet.

Let’s meet our students where they play.