How are games providing new opportunities for differentiation in the classroom?
“While playing games in schools may not motivate all students or ensure that all of them achieve high academic standards, I do believe games offer a valuable addition to our arsenal of tools and techniques for enhancing individual and group learning, particularly as we compete with cell phones, entertaining video games, and the Internet for our students’ time and attention” (Hirumi, 2010. p. 246).
It’s amazing how technology has grown. If we don’t keep up then our students won’t be able to keep up as well. They may get a lot of out of school exposure, but not necessarily guided exposure. Boas writes about how students admit to not looking up words they do not know during a language class, but when they are at home gaming they will look up words before progressing on. (2013) If we bring the games into the classroom we can help further guide their learning.
Bristow talks about how teachers are able to control the world of Minecraft and the students in the world. (2013) When we practiced on each other Tuesday night we were able to play with the different features teachers can use to help guide their students through the learning process in Minecraft. It made it possible to do crowd control when students decided to goof off or to send them to places you wanted them to be in. Being frozen is something a gamer will try to avoid.
We live in a technological age. It is a part of our student’s lives whether we want it or not. Something as simple as allowing students to communicate to each other during gaming in order to improve their typing skills (Ossola, 2015) has been a way to get students to grow in understanding without knowing they are learning it until you are able to debrief with them later. To help them along Stiff wrote about Mr. Hamley who believes that kids need to be “…smart and responsible on the internet.” (2015) By teaching them proper and safe usage of technology we are providing new opportunities for our students’ futures.
Then there is Minecraft. This is such a popular game already, but to bring it into the classroom is such a huge leap for many. “…Teacher Gaming that aims to bring Minecraft into classrooms everywhere, helping students and teachers of all disciplines use their creativity to design projects, free from the kinds of limitations they would face using traditional methods” (Granata, 2015) If this isn’t differentiation, I don’t know what is.
Bristow, Elliott. (2013, Nov. 21). Gaming in Education – Minecraft in Schools? Retrieved from
Boas, A. (2013, Jan. 29). Computer Games Can Improve Teaching in Schools. Retrieved from
Granata, K. (2015, Feb. 13). Teachers Take Advantage of Minecraft in the Classroom. Retrieved
Hirumi, A. (2010). Playing Games in School: Video Games and Simulations for Primary and
Secondary Education. ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). Washington, DC. Pp. 231-248.
Ossola, A. (2015, Feb. 6). Teaching in the Age of Minecraft. Retrieved from
Stiff, H. (2015, Feb. 6). Monforton Teacher Instructs Coding to Kids. Retrieved from