Day 8 (of 183) on video games
Tonight I jumped into a Twitter conversation when someone said they can’t find value in video games when it comes to learning.
I can’t help but disagree. “Back in the day” Pac Man taught me that just because you fail once, it’s not the end of trying something different. And that ‘game over’ doesn’t always mean ‘over forever’. Other games like Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego helped reinforce a love of geography while Lemonade Stand taught me about economics and planning.
Tetris taught me to look for patterns (an invaluable skill as a principal) and ET taught me that even the best of intentions can lead to disappointment.
There are studies that are showing hat surgeons soldiers and others have benefitted from using video games – both because of some real-life applications (flying drones by remote, patience in manipulating micro-surgery tools) and due to the collaborative nature that many games ‘encourage’. You won’t get far into World of Warcraft without some allies!
As a teacher I loved using games like Fowl Words and Math Tic Tac Toe http://www.sor.sd83.bc.ca/web%20sites which are on my ‘reinforce homework’ page – sites that are connected to various learning outcomes but also enable differentiation better than any worksheet ever could!
I’ve even useda Wii to get a student population more active – I was surprised by how active their moms got when they stole the wifi to do some boxing with their morning coffees!
Currently I’m using a PS3 as a rocksmith station to learn guitar and as a bonus minecraft station – right now the iPad version is most popular – and if you’re wondering about the value of minecraft, well Will Richardson has THE book for that: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00998J5YQ/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00998J5YQ&link_code=as3&tag=weblogged-20
Gamification (when done well) can be very powerful. My son can’t do traditional band programs yet (anxiety) but he can do some neat work on GarageBand. The differentiation I can do as a teacher with games is much more personal than anything I received as a student….and I think that’s my goal: to have the education program my kids are getting be more personalized and meaningful than mine was…and video games can help in so many areas beyond ‘recreation’.