More and more classrooms across the country are using computer simulations and games as “interactive multimedia with dynamic elements that are under user control,” essentially becoming functional teaching tools that we can also start using at home. This goes to show that games can be both fun and educational, and are an effective way to get kids excited about learning.
Some of the popular games that have also been used as classroom and homework activities include 3rd World Farmer, which exposes kids to the hardships that come with providing sustenance for your family in a poor country. Ayiti: The Cost of Life is another excellent simulation that teaches students about the struggles of poverty and their obstacles in achieving human rights such as education. With UnaKids and other child sponsorship programs funding education that exists today, the number of illiterate children in underdeveloped countries is a real-world problem that the younger generation should have a full understanding of.
One of the latest games that teachers have used for educational purposes is Minecraft, and for anyone that hasn’t played it or never used it in a learning environment, you might want to experiment with it yourself so that you discover the best learning approaches for your kids.
The great thing about using Minecraft as a teaching tool is that it can be used across a variety of subjects. Because the game requires you to build structures in an open space, mathematics can easily be applied in this activity through scaling, proportions and ratios. For your history lesson, you have the option to import pictures to Minecraft so that your kids can virtually explore ancient landmarks and the wonders of the world. According to Tablets for Schools, you can also construct the game to better your children’s reading comprehension. By adding the visualization component to the book currently being studied, they will have the opportunity show their interpretations of the text while reconstructing scenes and settings, allowing them to bring the literature to life.
There are plenty of lesson plans on MinecraftEDU for teachers and parents homeschooling their children, but you can choose to go with the flow and use it as an after school activity, as playing the game itself can enhance visual-spatial skills. If you have your kids work in pairs, the game can also improve their social and collaborative skills.
I have never been a huge video gamers myself but in today’s world and fast growing technology gaming is everywhere. If the students of today are obsessed with it, it’s only a smart teaching strategy to use what they know and love to teach them further. Right?
What are your thoughts on gaming and education together? I would love to hear your thoughts below, please leave a comment.