Children love video games. In our increasingly digital world, we can leverage their use for instructional purposes. Here are four tips for educators and curriculum developers to use digital games in the classroom.
Games as motivational aids
Research has shown that video games help in promoting learning and motivating students. A study at NYU found that gaming encourages students to become more engaged about their learning, and to become confident about their skills. Games have an inherent motivational element, as they mostly contain leaderboards and built-in competition. This will eventually lead to progress in their learning.
Use them to enhance instruction
When selecting games to enhance instruction, make sure that the game you are using fits with your subject’s requirements, the needs of your students, and the skills they will need to develop to complete a lesson. The key is to use games to help you plan curricula that engage students and support learning, and are not merely an end in themselves.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Don’t spend your time developing new video games to teach your content. There are several existing options that you can use in your curriculum, from Kahoot, which is a website allowing you to create or use the quizzes of others, to MathBlaster, a math game that helps students learn math concepts.
Don’t overdo it
Even students who are avid gamers in their personal life will get bored if you overuse games in a curriculum. One strategy to avoid this is to integrate gaming into a lesson once a week as a reward, or as part of a special assignment.
While digital games may not be the solution to all learning challenges, they can be a powerful instructional aid. Supporting teachers by educating them about the use of games in the classroom is a first step to their integration in a curriculum.