With our last blog post, Game-Based Learning: Tips for Teachers we looked at the trend of teachers we talk to using game-based learning techniques in their classrooms.
Here are a couple more tips we’ve come across that could be useful for educators as you do your lesson planning.
Tip #2: It’s all in the journey
Let the elements of your lesson plan emphasize the journey of discovery more than the end result, such as a project or test. Gamers are attracted to the journey: how to play the game holds as much interest as the result of the game. Game design has figured out how to let participants explore multiple angles and perspectives to see what the outcome would be. As an educator, consider how to make the figuring out a fun process, rather than just whether the end result is correct.
Let the students know what resources would be helpful on their journey of discovery and how to find them, just as collecting stars in a game can ‘power up’ their strength. Half the fun of the journey in a video game is searching for these guideposts. With this strategy, students develop the critical thinking skills that will lead them to find helpful answers and resources.
Tip #3: Level up
Think of the elements of your unit in terms of levels, with each level of knowledge or skills acquired ‘unlocking’ to the next level. Gamers always know what level they are on, and are motivated to level up. Most video game designs seem to understand the gamer’s drive to keep advancing. Why else would so many games unlock the next level only once certain challenges have been achieved? This building up to the next level works an inherent reward system into your plans, and motivates students to build on their expertise levels.
One way that teachers often check understanding along the way, long before test-time, is with personal whiteboard slates. Teachers can ask questions, to the students flash their answers on the whiteboard slates. This will give the teacher an adequate read on whether certain information or concepts need to be reviewed, or if it is time to move on to the next level.
Check back later this week and we’ll have the final installment of our blog posts focused on game-based learning.