Educator's Checklist for Game-Based Learning (GBL)


Educator's Checklist for Game-Based Learning (GBL)

“Have Fun While You Learn” seems to be the next mantra of education. Learning can be made fun by developing a game-based learning system. Often parents are pestered by children’s attachment to video games. This could be well used to understand how games

 keep children’s interests and attention intact and the concentration which is involved while playing a video game can be used to educate them. The video game industry can take advantage of the need for fun-based learning and in order to be taken seriously by educators, policy makers and parents should come up with game-based learning systems which would enable kids to learn while they play their video-games by developing educationally engaging games.

There may even come up considerations to integrate games in the main stream education system. The video-game industry has to pair up with educators from different parts of the world and pay attention towards designing games that specifically align to the Common Core and attempts must be made to empirically demonstrate the ways in which game play helps students develop useful, real world skills.

There are several ways by which educators can enable game-based learning to be brought to the main streaming learning. 

Join a Discussion

Before gamification completely comes into action there have to be carried out active discussions and there are few available online websites where anyone can join, have their say or just be a follower. One of the best sites available for this purpose is Games for Change.  One could just sign up for their email newsletters to get access to vibrant online communities supporting gamification and get their queries resolved. No matter what you are looking for, you’ll find a way to start with the help of these communities. Online GBL (Game Based Learning) communities offer a wealth of information and suggestions for the novice. 

Play Some Games

Being an educator there isn’t going to be a lot of time and support initially starting with game-based learning techniques. But the time spent in playing games  are valuable for two reasons 1) It’s fun, and 2) unless you explore yourself and play the different games available , you may never know which game is trending among the kids and how to incorporate the educational concepts in them . There are literally many games available online and it may even confuse the educator in the beginning stages. Appropriate games should be found and encouraged; failing to do so may end up wasting a lot of time and reputation among students and peers. Games like World of Warcraft, MineCraft and Lord of the Rings Online are few of the games that can teach teamwork, collaboration, and critical thinking. Besides these there is always ‘Google’ for help and the educator just needs to plan and classify his needs on educational parameters such that it accomplishes and suits the academic requirements.

Take a Baby Step

It’s a common thinking among many people that adoption of gamification in the learning System is of a whole or null proposition. Even if such a thing is made possible, revamping the entire syllabi and curriculum such that games can be incorporated into them is needed. Revamping the entire curriculum is possibly a tedious task and thus considered to be one of the biggest hindrances in incorporation of gamification in the present learning scenario. Starting small and measuring steps are possibly best solutions as of now. An Educator should divide lessons and try making them solvable by employing mini games or flash games that helps students to understand the lessons in an easy way. There are many websites which offer free flash games and some of them are Pogo.com, Armor Games and Game-Arcade . The games should be helpfully engaging and enable students in addition to having fun learn from them. For instance a game like angry bird can be used to project concepts of physics. If such small tasks work, gradually expand the gamification process covering the entire curriculum. The bottomline being that the educator should start with small, clear and attainable objectives.

Embrace Failure

Bringing games into the scene is always going to be a fun and engaging process. But it also brings in failures, moments of frustration when one fails to achieve the gaming objectives. If an educator uses games to teach, he should be ready to face slowdowns and failures since not all the students would complete the objectives of the game in one go . In a way it is good, the learning process elongates. Failures are rightly said to be better teachers than success, when the student fails he is forced to analyze and learns more by mere trying. The role of the teacher here is to make the student understand what lead to the failure , how the particular objective should be handled and what needs to be done in order to accomplish the goal . The educator should keep checks on the improvements and help the students to articulate what they learned and how did it help them to conqueror the obstacles in the gaming scenario.

Be an Advocate

When something helps you and brings in positive change it should be publicized.  If an educator’s game based policies have resulted in positive outcomes, he must try and spread his techniques and theories to other teachers so that they employ them in their environments. The educator can possibly share his works through workshops and discussion forums available online. Further the educator can collaborate and work with game developers to develop more helpful and objective based games which fulfill the need of present educational concepts. This may sound difficult, but in the age of “virtual reality” game designers and developers can be found everywhere. If someone has difficulty in locating one, try attending conferences like Games for Change or find a local Maker Movement “hackerspace” and spend some time in understanding the market trends . Even students can occasionally be made to attend such workshops.

Tip for Educators: Things cannot be changed overnight, it may require some time before they are fully converted into reality.  We suggest educators to keep in mind the hard reality of not being too ambitious and expecting rapid outcomes. Patience and persistence holds the key to success.

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