Infusing Technology into Games-Based Learning: It's a Game Changer!

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My first foray into games-based learning was completely…analog! Inspired by this article in NCTM’s Teaching Children Mathematics in April 2005, I was very excited to merge play and a unique new game with my math program. Charging ahead enthusiastically, I turned my Grades 1/2 classroom into a candy factory. Every day, we received letters from a mysterious boss who gave us our jobs--tasks differentiated for learners of diverse abilities. Using snap cubes and plastic bags, 24 eager students worked hard to make rolls of ten candies. Those ready for new challenges created packages of 100 and 1000 candies, collaborating to solve a variety of place-value problems. Our candy factory project was an innovative blend of play, game, and project, and more learners than ever before met and exceeded Grades 1 and 2 numeracy outcomes.

Looking back on this project, I reflect on how the infusion of technology has revolutionized games-based learning. Tweets, texts, Facebook posts, and messages from avatars can be used to challenge learners to complete a task as part of a larger game. Technology expands the audience, creating play among learners around the world who can collaborate through social media to complete challenges and share final products. That’s what my colleague Leah Obach and I are working to achieve through our tech-based alternate reality game, Mission. Tweets from @Mission_Game issue learning challenges, with products posted to a shared site. It’s in the very early stages, but we’d love educators from around the world to help us build it.

Games-based learning can be adapted for any students in any subject area. Ready to begin your gaming journey? Check out these resources and tweet as you go with #edugaming! students

Microsoft Kinect for Windows, Microsoft Kodu, and Microsoft Mouse MIschief

Gamestar Mechanic, designed for middle years/high school students, teaches video game design and creation.

Brain Pop Game Up features a huge variety of topic-specific games for students in later early years and beyond.

Steam for Schools allows educators/students to download games and communicate with other gamers.

Join the conversation at Ed Web Game Based Learning Community!

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