Gaming | Feature
Using Mobile Games in the Classroom and Living Room
Teaching methods today are not the same as they were even just a few years ago. Technology as a teaching tool has come a long way. While overhead projectors and bulky desktop computers used to complement classroom instruction, iPads and mobile games are now being used to deliver teaching material in a way that was never before possible.
Both students and teachers benefit from using technology in the classroom. From the captivating curriculum on mobile devices that keeps kids engaged to the immediate feedback about their performance, educational games help students better prepare for the always-evolving virtual world they live in. Instead of being intimidated by today’s technology tools, some teachers are embracing these resources to enhance teaching and learning.
If children are immersed in a game’s message, they achieve better results. When children are engaged, teachers do not have to merely dictate the lessons. Instead, they can allow children to think and problem-solve in practical, hands-on ways. Through edu-gaming, kids can explore their individual interests and feel empowered to learn.
An effective educational game is one that caters to a player’s interests first. For example, Evanced Games, a company that designs mobile games as a playground for kids to do something fun with the knowledge they acquire, provides apps that can be used for classroom instruction. Two of the apps, Froggy Phonics and Tic-Tac Bananas, help reinforce foundational skills such as word patterns and cognitive skills, including cause and effect.
These apps teach kids primary skills that also increase student engagement. With iPads in their hands, students collaborate with one another while challenging each other to move forward in a game. The apps are not only simple forms of educational entertainment. They also encourage social skills such as teamwork and camaraderie. This fosters a sense of community in the classroom.
Incorporating Games Into Your Classroom
While a game-based approach to teaching is an effective way to motivate students, it is important to remember that the instructional objective is essential. Rather than masking learning, educational games allow kids to embrace learning and feel proud for tackling challenging, yet achievable obstacles.
Engaging kids using educational games in the classroom encourages them to reason and perform like problem-solvers. Critical thinking and strategizing skills can be used to expand students’ learning opportunities beyond the curriculum. In a differentiated learning environment, games can help teachers personalize learning based on how their students best acquire knowledge. Allowing today’s kids to use these innovative tools, piques their deepest interests and meets their educational needs. Even better, the students can take the games home, helping to bridge the classroom environment and the living room.
Angie Cullin is a special education teacher at St. Malachy School in Brownsburg, IN.