To game or not to game may be a moot question for educators. All kinds of instructional gamification are in play these days, according to The Miami Herald.
“Educators increasingly see digital games as a language that many students seem to intuitively understand, so they’re trying to use that language to make playing facilitate learning,” noted the article, reprinted on Phys.org.
Some K-12 teachers are incorporating popular online games, such as World of Warcraft, into lesson plans to help students understand certain concepts and work together on problem-solving. Others are using consumer games as a launching point for teaching computer coding, fostering creative ideas, and aligning classwork with Common Core guidelines.
One Miami teacher discovered that Oregon Trail, a game first released 10 years ago—a long time for video games—helped illustrate history lessons for his special-education classes.
In tech classes at the University of Miami, college students are developing games for younger students, although not all are aimed at classroom instruction. A new game called Zoo Rush, for instance, is designed to help youngsters who have been newly diagnosed with sickle cell disease. As the players attempt to round up escaped zoo animals, they learn about their disease and how to manage its symptoms.
Game design is also being taught at the high-school level, usually in magnet schools or summer programs. Miami-Dade schools set up an online portal to enable students to access a variety of gaming applications from home.
Parents have gotten into the act as well, downloading games to help their kids practice math problems or foreign-language pronunciation on smartphones or tablets.