Computer Educational games and simulations are a great way to present daily facts and skills that you want your students to master while practicing in a fun, repetitive, rewarding, and instantaneous environment. In these environments, students tend not to fear failure and will try again in an attempt to win the game by getting better at the subject matter or specific skill. And there are many computer based or web based games that one can play alone or with others around the world.
Two common examples are Words with Friends and Funbrain where students compete with each other to improve vocabulary, spelling, logic, math, history facts, and other skills. You, yourself, have probably played a computer based educational game that requires a knowledge of some skill or set of facts to do well. I am writing the obvious, though, to try and build to the next questions. Do students learn more than the skill when playing the game? Do they discuss unique ways of understanding the skills? Are they just doing? Do they spend time reflecting upon accomplishments?
At Absolutely Learning we are currently creating computer based games that will increase understanding of skills as stated above, but we also want to give students and people direct time for reflection. Students can work upon stand alone projects for a certain amount of time, but students should also engage in the face to face time of reflection. Students need to become great communicators, and they like to discuss how they accomplished a goal with the educational technology. Yes, these games are designed for people to share results upon completion as well as provide competitive solutions. Great communicators are needed, and perhaps this is one way that you can have students practice their speaking skills. Perhaps a student could share an answer for the class too. These games give your students time to reflect upon the game played, the round won, and the solution solved.
If you are interested in what I am writing then please continue following this blog or send me an email. There are games in development for the iPhone and iPad that will give your students and friends an opportunity to reflect upon how they accomplished a goal as well as learning valuable skills. These are both stand alone products and group games that were designed for these purposes.
- Blog: Why educational games and indies are a perfect match (gamasutra.com)
- More educators turning to educational gaming (eschoolnews.com)