Listening To Students

This morning before I came to school, I read and commented on this blog post by Doug Peterson (@dougpete) on Why Gaming Isn’t Going To Catch On Bigtime Anytime Soon. Gaming is something that I really struggle with in the classroom, as I want classroom activities to be about expectations first, and I don’t know how to ensure that these expectations are met using these games. This year, I started trying out some gaming in the classroom using the Nintendo DS’ and Nintendogs (thanks to Jennifer Dyenberg (@jdeyenberg)). I always had a very specific purpose in mind, and I tended to use oral sharing opportunities as well as future writing opportunities to ensure that the students met the expected expectations.

I always thought that there could be more to this game-based learning, but I wasn’t sure how to make this happen. Early in January, I blogged about attempting Gamestar Mechanic for an upcoming Social Studies activity, but some computer issues at school have resulted in problems with this plan. The question was, where do I go from here?

As I was thinking about Doug’s blog post and follow-up tweets from today, I heard a Flat Stanley presentation from one of my Grade 2 students that changed everything. While this student starts by explaining what he did with Flat Stanley, he then explains the game links that he has on the side of his webpage. Listen as this student explains the academic benefits of some of these games. He knows which ones are meeting expectations, and how they’re meeting them too.

The discussion on gaming begins around 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

I couldn’t help but mention Doug’s post in my conversation with this student. Maybe if I want to bring more gaming into the classroom, I need to talk to the students. Possibly they can help me figure out which games would best meet the academic needs of my class and then we can work through this process together. Instead of doing all of the planning for the students, maybe I need to start doing some planning with the students.

What do you think? How do you using gaming in your classroom, and how do you ensure that these games are meeting curriculum expectations? As I continue to contemplate this, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


2 thoughts on “Listening To Students

  1. Hi Aviva,
    I have a lengthy reply to your question on how to incorporate games into the classroom, but it’s late at night and I want to be coherent when I answer! Let me just say that I bring in games a lot and it’s not about covering the curriculum but genuine, authentic, “bigger than the report card” learning that occurs when you open your mind and space to them. I’m glad you are starting this process of discovery. My colleague has described a similar scenario to yours, in which a group actually compiled a presentation with evidence supporting the use of video games in schools, to their vice-principal to convince her to allow them. I’d love to have seen that presentation!

    • Thanks Diana! I would have loved to see that presentation too. 🙂 Definitely starting now to see the value of using games in the classroom for learning!


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