When this lesson is over, what is the learning going to look like? What is going to be different? What lasting understandings will the students be able to demonstrate? The best place to start planning a lesson is at the end.
Using computer games in education is more than sticking a student in front of Civilization 3 and hoping for the best. Very specific learning objectives, accurate assessment, consistent feedback, and an engagement in the learning process are critical for the successful implementation of computer games in education.
It’s really no different from any instructional activity. Well organized lessons and instructional activities make for a more successful learning experience.
It is important to include as many national, state, and local state standards as you are able. Make sure the standards are truly linked to learning activities, and not added as an afterthought. You should be able to clearly point to something a student is doing and connect it with a state standard.
Take into consideration different learning styles, different ways of using the game to illustrate understandings. For example, could a student take a series of screen captures in Sim City, and create a large artistic collage in the hallway to show the growth of an urban and suburban areas? Could another student interview a mayor of Sim City, with a decidedly cynical slant, and post the interview online? How is our lesson plan addressing different intelligences and learning styles?
At the end of the day, well planned, well organized lesson plans will define the success of computer games in education. The more specific our objectives, the better we will be able use computer games to teach.
How can schools thoughtfully and effectively integrate games into meaningful learning?
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