Day 74 (of 186) a day of games
I am a strong believer in the power of “Games” to augment learning. I have believed that my early use of PacMan helped me understand that when you “level up” things come at you faster and faster (and making it harder) but there are always opportunities to earn “extra lives” to help find success! Games like Tetris allowed me to see that there are many different ‘right’ answers and ways to solve problems. Carmen SanDiego taught me a lot about Geography and Lemonade Stand taught me about predictions in math and HitchHikersGuide to the Galaxy taught me how to deal with frustration (I could not get out of the house!!) And it helped reinforce that learning takes time (more than just one time) and that it could be fun.
I’ve seen friends and family spend hours (rigorous attitudes) trying to reach the end of Zelda and find every invisible box for Mario. I’ve seen people deal with anger and frustration trying to decide on the rules of Monopoly and cooperate to beat a certain somebody (me) in Risk….and Cataan…and Trivial Pursuit….(the people who think I don’t believe in competition haven’t seen me in action – I just believe competition should be a choice of the learner and not decided that they will compete against each other – be it a science fair, spelling bee, grades, medical school, etc)
So today was set up to be a day of games – gamified learning being my secret agenda! We played some cooperative/competitive math games (connect 4, soduko, “first to 100”, battleship, super tic tac toe, etc) in the morning.
Our music teacher also got in the swing of things and had a collaborative trivia game set for the class to take part in as well!
Our Language Arts games included Fowl Words (one of my favourite spelling games – found on my virtual assignments page: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/virtual-assignments/ along with hangman and a “making words” challenge – and I’ll add pdfs of all the games on the virtual assignments page as well!
We had planned to end the day with a “make a game” class, but with a few students going home early, we instead focused on a blend of new and old school games – I broke out my sons NES and had the kids enjoy the world of Mario Bros and Duck Hunt (our school has an old CRT TV so the duck hunt game actually works! New TVs are great, but they don’t work with all the old tech that still has a lot of life left in it!
I still believe that games have a lot of potential to help with our curricular focus on core competencies – thinking critically and creatively, communicating and collaborating, and awareness of self (seeking balance and self regulation) all have connections to games – be them virtual or authentic…..though I agree that not all games are created equal….and that they have ratings for a reason and games that are M should not be being played by 9 year olds (whose brains have not developed enough at that point to fully appreciate what they are experiencing – through no fault of their own, it’s just a biological thing). Some games are better than others – and the ones that enable the brain to be creative and critically creating ideations is much better than passively finding targets to shoot (though that can be a fun distraction – but it is a toy, not a tool….which can have a purpose to resettle and self regulate but should not be the only tool being used for this)
I liked seeing how the class worked together on a variety of the games and I’m looking forward to the new year when we have our “unplug and play week” where we will be exploring more non-screen games (and making our own at that point when I hope the whole class will be here!) But for now, I’d rather be having a ‘game break’ than a ‘movie break’ as we approach winter vacation.
Play games. Level up! Let Learners have an ‘extra life’! be okay with pressing the ‘pause’ button (or even resetting)!