Scholarly Critiques #3

Teaching the Relevance of Game-Based Learning to Preschool and
Primary Teachers

The first quote is what drew me into the article, “Game-based learning has been found to promote a positive attitude towards learning and develop memory skills, along with its potential to connect learners and help them build self-constructed learning”. In higher educations we talk often about students views regarding learning. I teach a couple of 100 entry level courses and I see student coming into the beginning of class as if learning is a struggle and they would rather be anywhere else but here. Views of what learning is, especially if they are negative views, can and do affect the way that students perform in the classroom and on the different tasks assigned to them. It is easy to confirm this in our culture, just stand on a street corner and ask people their views on math and how they would feel if they had to take a math class to keep their jobs. Negative views would abound.

Cojocariu and Boghian quote Prensky (2001) when discussing how games meet the needs for learning in part through enjoyment, passionate involvement, structure, motivation, ego gratification, adrenaline, creativity, social interactions, and emotions. At first the ego gratification threw me off but as I thought about it more, students do receive an ego boost when they do well on an assignment just like they do from achieving a new level on a game. Unfortunately our currently educational view held by some teachers is that learning should be individual instead of social. But when you look at the working world they will be entering there are few if any truly independent jobs. People are always in contact with others for a variety of different reasons in order to complete their tasks.

This article focused on the importance of helping preschool and primary teachers to understand how to use games as a learning tool within the classroom. Socially these games would encourage students to interact in a positive way to resolve a variety of different challenges. The authors gave 8 different stages that would be completed by the teachers.

  1. Introduction
  2. Title and aim of the game
  3. Presenting materials
  4. Explaining rules and giving examples
  5. Demonstrating the game by have a trial game
  6. Performing the game
  7. Complicating the game through adding versions (new rules, etc)
  8. Ending the game and Evaluating it

These steps gave teachers a clear guide on how to incorporate a game successfully into a classroom so that students would be engaged. The last step is key as through evaluation the teacher would be able to assess both the students learning and quantify if the game is worth playing again or if there needs to be modifications.

By giving constraints to the game in the beginning this allows children who are not familiar with that game genre to catch up to their peers without feeling left behind. The teacher would need to be aware of how each student is doing before complicating the game. When a game becomes too complicated then players tend to tune out or refuse to play.

The authors recognized the disadvantages of having game play in the classroom – time, teacher control, classroom interactions but then balanced them with the benefits  – students being able to develop several skills at the same time, creating a social connection, self-confidence, learning becoming pleasant and fun, discovery, and more. I agree that one of the challenges is that it is not easy to find ways to assess learning through games without having to add an additional task for each student. We know from standardized testing that both states and the federal government want to see specific data that supports the idea that students are learning and retaining information. They advocate for a need for standardization and regulation regarding the use of games in teaching-learning-evaluating.

To this idea my question is how can we as forward thinking instructors help our unfortunately test happy government to realize that this is a better way to assess then bubble tests.

 

 

 

Cojocariu, V and Boghian, I. ( 2014 ). Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences.Teaching the Relevance of Game-Based Learning to Preschool and Primary Teachers.  142. 640 – 646. Retrieved on Feb. 25, 2016. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

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