Digital Games in the Classroom: Where Do I Start?

Educators focused on enabling immersive, dynamic learning opportunities already apply different forms of interactivity into the learning space – from scripted plays and mock debates to use of YouTube videos. Today, there is an influx of digital learning games striving to address a variety of needs in and out of the classroom.

There are many key components to successful digital learning games, and here are some points to consider:

Does it make learning visible?
High-impact digital learning games provide feedback on a learner’s progress in different ways. However, it can be challenging for educators to keep track of students’ gameplay, let alone what each action really means. In order for the game to really be useful, it’s crucial for the assessment within to be accessible and actionable.

In Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, a student’s ability to win argubot battles is directly tied to ELA Common Core standards on argumentation.

Do they support my instructional decisions?
Digital games, like creative activities in the classroom, should not exist within a vacuum. Do the digital games come with instructional materials that make it easier to guide and enhance learning for students? In addition, games should help educators celebrate successes and identify pain-points as they happen, not after-the-fact.

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For instance, Playfully’s Shout-Out Watch-Out (SOWO) reports can help focus on teaching instead of “policing”.

Can my students and I visualize long-term progress?
Remember that game progress does not always mean learning progress. However, games can carefully be designed to connect in-game actions and learning. It’s possible to gain insight into what and how students learn in a way that matters for their overall academic growth!

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Learning reports can be used to help make sure that they’re learning knowledge and skills that have meaning outside the game – be it about mathematics, collaboration, argumentation, or beyond.

What other questions come to mind when integrating digital games into the classroom? Please feel free to let us know via Twitter, Facebook, or Google+!

If you’re interested in finding out more about how high-impact digital games in the Playfully library may fit your classroom needs, sign up here!

Editor’s Note: Paula is responsible for cultivating awareness and driving engagement across all digital channels at GlassLab. In addition to experience in the commercial video game industry, she holds a double masters in Business and Public Administration from Presidio Graduate School of Sustainable Management. An avid gamer at heart, she has a vested interest in social impact and community resilience through video games, technology and empathy.

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