The second Pick ‘n’ Mix module looked at:
- Class Dojo as a behaviour reward system
- Classroom Voting Systems
- Handheld learning devices
- Learning through games
This particular blog post will focus upon learning through games as I believe it can enhance and reinforce learning, knowledge and understanding. In addition, games are a huge motivator for students, particularly students with a competitive edge, so by incorporating ICT learning games within lessons will help create engaging lessons for all.
Learning games online are designed to be accessed and enjoyed independently by the child with limited teacher direction and input. As they are designed for children for children, learning games are usually media rich, entertaining and child centred, thus will keep children occupied whilst facilitating learning. However, the educational worth and learning potential of each game must be evaluated and decided by the teacher.
Great learning game sites include:
- Education City: This website is great for not only educational games, but also teacher resources. It is broken down into year groups, ages and subjects and is very easy to use. I have seen games on education city used regularly within KS1, particularly in phonics lessons and the children throughly enjoy accessing this site to reinforce learning.
- ICT games: Once again, this site has copious amounts of games for both maths and literacy. They are broken down into areas of learning such as multiplication, money, odd and even etc., therefore it is easy to establish the games required to enhance learning. I have personally used this website within teaching and found it very useful in motivating children in areas they find difficult.
- BBC Bitesize: This site is also extremely easy to use and the learning games relate to children’s TV characters that they will be familiar with. It is broken down into english, maths and science with specific areas of learning further broken down into sub sections, for example, within maths, there is a 2D shapes section which includes a game and revision aspect. I have used this website for revision and subject knowledge and the learning games are both relevant and entertaining.
Entertainment OR learning:
It is vital to ensure pupils are still learning whilst also enjoying the games being played. Therefore, teachers need to choose learning games that facilitate this balance. Whilst researching this area, I came across this blog: ICT across the curriculum . It outlined reasons for utilising ICT games within the classroom and these are listed below:
- Motivation – games can engage and motivate students and in doing so they are more likely to interact in topics covered
- Games can provide feedback to both the learner and the teacher – outcomes help students to identify their current levels of achievement and staff can intervene, scaffold and adjust learning opportunities as necessary in relation to the outcomes.
- For many students the nature of a game or quiz is less threatening than some other learning opportunities.
- Can be used to review learning in the classroom through starters and plenaries.
- Can be used as useful revision aids and through online sources can be used to support independent revision by students.
I have had positive first hand experience regarding the use of ICT games to support learning. When working as a 1:1 TA, my child struggled to stay focussed within maths lessons but was highly motivated by the iPad. The class were tackling word problems involving money but not really in a contextual way. I found a supermarket game : ICT games – Giving change . This game allowed my child to be the shop assistant who had to work out the change for customers purchases. As the context of and link to the learning was easy to identify the child progressed his skills quicker by verbally talking through the word problems and receiving instant feedback on his answers when playing the game than by calculating word problems in their book.
As a teacher I will try to incorporate opportunities to reinforce and enhance learning through games to motivate my students further. Children who struggle on certain topics may be motivated by ICT games where they always receive instant feedback. Similarly, a class plenary game such as ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ in which the children give their answers via handheld voting systems may also motivate students.