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Alice Keeler

Can Games Power Up Student Engagement in an Online/Hybrid Classroom Setting? By @MsBDuncan

The behavior of play has long been an essential tool for learning.
Can Games Power Up Student Engagement in an Online/Hybrid Classroom Setting? By @MsBDuncan

In a recent article posted on School Education Gateway, I read the behavior of play has long been an essential tool for learning. Maria Montessori’s philosophy to learning is deeply rooted into allowing children to explore on their own and at their own pace which will produce the greatest outcome of learning. Globally there has been an  unanimous outcry from teachers that student motivation and engagement within online learning classrooms is not at the level it was when  we had face-to-face instruction.  

Adding Game Features to Lessons

Let’s face it, flashing colors,  upbeat music, cool graphics of dancing fish from Epic Games Fortnite is indeed a hard act to follow. However we can use key elements from these games to make classroom instruction engaging too.  If you want students  to hear and become energized and want to listen to your lesson, then use buzz words like  “missions”, “Level up”, “winner” and/ or “challenges!” Watch the enthusiasm and eagerness soar from them. When else can you observe students’ willingness to fail, overcome and persevere more than when playing a game? School Education Gateway  also stated that when students are given a sense of agency through games, they control the choices they make and the desired outcomes as well. Giving students more agency in their learning means they are more vested in doing better. 

Looking for a really great project based learning assessment for students? Why not have them create a game based on the standard you are teaching?  Have students in the class play each other’s games for peer review. I once had a mentor say that he created a Kahoot challenge for  review on a unit test. Students came in early from their lunch period so  that they could “battle” with each other for top place. One of the  benefits of game based learning is that you somehow start to build a strong community within the classroom as kids begin cheering on teams and more so for the underdog team. Amazing! 

As we conclude 2020 and look forward to a new year of possible uncertainty, one thing we can’t overlook, is that no matter how we choose to engage with our students, pedagogy will always remain the most important factor in lesson planning or instructional design.  Adding or incorporating games to instruction is just another tool used to enhance learning for our students. Want to learn more on how to design these game based lessons or gamification lessons? tcome Join me on Nov 30th at 1:30-3pm PST, as I present at #ISTE2020. Topic is : {Power up student engagement in online and hybrid classrooms}.

About the Author

Brigid Duncan is an AP Econ/Business instructor teaching high school in Hollywood, Florida. Originally from the Caribbean, she pursued a career in advertising and marketing before transitioning to teaching. She is Mom to three wonderful and energetic teenagers. She enjoys being creative, especially in graphic design. Favorite quote: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” – George Bernard Shaw. Follow her educational journey at @MsBDuncan.

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