Week 5: Gaming and Differentiation

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

from http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/teachers-take-advantage-minecraft-classroom-60294258


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





4 thoughts on “Week 5: Gaming and Differentiation

  1. I believe teachers are absolute pros at adapting content, tools, activities, methods and strategies in their teaching practice. Technology might ask more from us sometimes than we are willing to give up but seeing its advantages across different content areas and in motivating students, we need to step up our “game” and adapt the tools that make sense for our students. If we restrict students to only “learning” under certain conditions and with tools we feel comfortable using, it doesn’t help them understand how learning is a lifelong skill that uses the best tools and knowledge available to solve problems!


  2. I must work at a school with a bunch of old ladies who aren’t willing to try anything new (no, I do, I don’t doubt that). I get kids in 7th grade who have had these teachers all of elementary and can barely get on the internet. We don’t have “computer lab” with a computer teacher, but we have enough laptops and desktops in a lab that teachers can take their kids and teach them the basics. They can’t type, they don’t know how to look up information. I want to pull out my hair because I can’t assign anything until I show them how to use Google. Like you said, “We live in a technological age. It’s part of our students lives whether we want it or not.” I agree with you on that statement. We can’t keep from teaching our kids about technology just because it confuses us, we need to be the teachers and get on the computers and learn it as well. Isn’t it lead by example? If we aren’t willing to learn new things in technology, why should students even want to learn? I love how everyday with just a few mouse clicks you can now basically find anything you want without having to plan these big long units and spend a lot of free time going to the library and looking for that certain movie. We have it so easy these days and our kids are so lucky to have all these unique games and websites that make learning more fun. Sometimes I wish I was back in school so I could do this cool stuff that is around nowadays because lets face it 15 years ago, it just wasn’t as fun.


    • I know the feeling. There are always those teachers who don’t want to adjust to change. They are set in their ways and no matter how much to introduce to them they are not willing to try the new. There seem to always be a few, but I have a feeling it will slowly catch on. Some buildings have more who are doing more, while other buildings have little to no exposure. Being a part of the cutting edge will only open the doors to those non-believers. Until they see the benefit they will probably not even want to try it. You sound like you are going to be one of those teachers to help start exposing the students and other teachers to the benefits of gaming. Have fun with it and celebrate a lot with your successes, and learn a lot for any complications. Sounds like you have the open mind that it takes.


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