Computer games brought into the classroom brings the controversy of playing instead of learning. Games can bring into the classroom more dynamics than teachers could create on their own without the games. Games like Minecraft can offer opportunities for teacher to emphasize topics, vocabulary and offer discovery in student learning. Minecraft offers virtual learning where students can see images, build images to scale size and communicate with other students from different classrooms through games. This technology can be used with rubrics that offer differentiation in lesson planning. Students can bring together their skills and help each other with their projects or teach each other strategies in the games.
In Code.org students can learn to program computers starting in kindergarten. Students think they are just playing a game, but they are writing programs. This coding teaches them step by step programing and the students have fun telling the computer how to move the chicken through a maze to reach a target. When you partner up the students with a navigator and a controller they learn to dialogue with each other using vocabulary. In this process they are learning etiquette skills for working partners or etiquette skills that will keep them safe on the internet. My son, 7th grader, and I played with code.org for a few hours a couple of times this week. His robotics team did well this year and placed in the top ten in state. He said this programming would have helped him be more prepared for the programming part of the competition. He plans on sharing it with his teammates at school.
With games you have competition and the students have to learn quickly in order to keep up or they have to rely on their teammates to remember what they don’t. The games can differentiate in itself by individuals playing by themselves at their own pace. Students that grasp a concept can move on while others can practice a little more as needed. Many games need to be changed up to educational purposes in order to be used in the classroom environment. I believe that technology is advancing in this area, but is just beginning to make advances enough to grasp the teachers attention.
Unfortunately technology teachers are moving away from basic keyboarding skills to basic coding (Stiff). I believe keyboarding is just as importance as coding and other skills that technology brings through games. As games evolve into the classrooms it will find its balance of skills to help create a more rounded student.
Housley, K. Technology in the classroom: games or learning tools? Education world. Retrieved February 2016 from http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/issues195.shtml
Granata, K. Teachers take advantage of minecraft in the classroom. Education world. Retrieved Febraury 2016 from http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/teachers-take-advantage-minecraft-classroom-60294258
Mackay, R.F. Playing to learn: panelists at Stanford discussion say using games as an educational tool provides opportunities for deeper learning. Stanford/News. Retrieved Febraury 2016 from http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/march/games-education-tool-030113.html
Stiff, H. (2015) Monforton teacher instructs coding to kids. Belgrade News. Retrieved February 2016 from http://www.belgrade-news.com/news/article_6716d926-ae2a-11e4-959b-13ebce844c1c.html