I came across this:
“while many teachers say they are using digital games in the classroom, a lot of the time they just mean interactive activities or worksheets.”
With this example.
"For example, a recent study from A-GAMES, a research collaboration between New York University and the University of Michigan, last year surveyed 488 K-12 teachers, and found that “more than half of teachers (57 percent) use digital games weekly or more often in teaching.” That’s a pretty high adoption rate. But according to Millstone, “the most frequently used ‘games’ aren’t really games at all.” Teachers seem to label any interactive activity that happens on a laptop or a tablet a ‘game.’ The categories are unclear. To which activity does each buzzword refer? What counts as blended learning? What’s the difference between game-based learning and gamification?"
Like most debates agreeing on definitions is the starting point. Though at the moment I have a few questions first.
- What is a game?
- Do teachers define games differently when they use them in education?
- Do the participants distinguish between playing a game for “fun” and playing a game in classroom?
I used games in teaching to the learners talking and thinking in English, in TEFL classes. My answer to the above three questions is that you have to remember to respect the players desire to have an outcome.
As the teacher I am not concerned or interested in who won the game, or how the players were ranked at the end of the game. I just want my lesson aims to be achieved. But if you have really engaged your learners – and this applies to adults as well as children – they will want to know their scores or at least what happened at the end. There is an need for immediate outcome: success, or failure. There is a need to compare each others achievement. They are competitive.
If “the thing you call a game” doesn’t provide
- an outcome – success or failure
- comparative performance – a ranking structure that is obvious to all participants
- the thrill of competition
It ain’t a game.