We need people to know that we are not using gaming as busy work and that it is a great way to differentiate into small groups, which is also beneficial to students in the classroom. Our exposure to Minecraft is a great start, since there are so many different gaming opportunities out there. Khan Academy was mentioned this week. My son, who is in fifth grade is working on Khan Academy during a small window of his math time at school and he has the ability to get online and continue working on it at home. It was neat to see reports from what my son has done so far. Also, I like that it isn’t a replacement program but a supportive piece. So I am also getting the parent side of this, and know how it feels to have my child participating in a gaming situation at school. I was rather impressed with his teacher. He was very well educated on what they are doing and the data aspect, which he should be because that information should guide him through instructing them in areas they need assistance in (which is what he pointed out to me that he does).
So many people have mixed feelings about gaming in the classroom. As educators, we need to set the scene and really show them the benefits of guiding their learning using these interactive, hands-on activities. Knowing that technology is the wave of our student’s futures it makes it even more motivating for us to include it in the classroom. Since they are so excited to play these games at home, when they come into the classroom and find we are using it there to teach we get a lot of excitement and self-motivation.
I am always brought back to this class and how Lee runs things. She has guided us through the process of using Minecraft. She didn’t just throw us into survival mode and expect us to be successful. She allowed us the opportunity to explore during our first session. Letting us just have that opportunity to get our feet wet and successfully travel through the game made it easier to attempt it when she upped the game in survival mode. It’s like when I introduce a new activity I always allow the students to play with the manipulatives before we actually use it how I want them to use it. This lets them get it out of their systems, and allows them that time to explore (once again, with guidelines). I continue to enjoy the Minecraft sessions and am always excited to join for the twitter sessions. I learn so much from doing and talking with everyone from the class. Even doing that quick video was a reminder that I could do it, and I was able to do it a lot quicker than I had done in the past.