Monday, March 4, 2013

Gamification is Educational

      Before completing this week's module, I was not aware of the term, gamification.  Gamification is a term used where it involves the use of "game design thinking" to the non-game applications online with the use of a computer.  Gamification is Educational and useful to Language LearningThis is a great way to keep our students engaged and have fun with game-like ideas to use in the classroom.  Gamification can also play an important role with language learning and/or second language development.  Keeping the students well-engaged with their learning helps them focus more on the "having fun" then tedious "busy work" with language learning.  It is a way for students to be interactive with learning new terms and become more explorative with game design thinking.  These games are a great way to increase a student's higher-level thinking skills and with their problem solving abilities.  I looked and played two games from Larry Ferlazzo's blog post and list of games.  The two I chose to discuss in my post here are the following games: The Sound Factory and Polleke's Blue Room.  I personally played these games a couple of times and tried to master the first level.  However, I had a little difficulty with mastering the level.  It is very important to also read the instructions carefully before you start playing the game.  I wanted to try two of these games instead of just one, in order to see if there were any differences between the two or similarities.  I found both of them interesting!

       My language learning objectives for these games are very important to discuss in this particular post.  First, I would tell my students to go to the website, and I would provide them with the link to the specific websites of the games.  It is also good to give the student(s) various choices for them to choose from.  Then, I will ask the student to read the instructions to the game before playing the actual game in order to understand what to expect, while they play the game.  It is also important for the students to write down any questions they might have in their class notebook about the game.  It would be great if there was a vocabulary sheet that the student can begin to make as they play the game and then after playing the game, they can look up the word's meaning.  These questions can be brought back to me as the educator to help them with any difficulty they might have with the game.  It is also important to have the student remember what game they play and to have feedback about the game by reflecting about it afterwards.  This reflection can be written or typed after they play the game, and this part of the assignment can help with the second language learning.  It is the most important aspect of this activity for the student to be actively engaged throughout it's entirety.  By playing these games and looking at the specific sentences and words, the student will become actively engaged in the gaming activity.  It is a fun and interactive way to help with the student's learning.

      The role/activity of the educator is to help guide the students' learning in this particular activity.  As the educator, it is important to be available for the students to answer any questions they might have about the activity.  Also, it is important to monitor the activity of the students' work on the games and the internet itself.  Making sure the students are safe with the computer-use and helping them every step of the way is very important with the guidance we provide as the educator.  I would most definitely would like to use a "walk through" step-by-step instructional part of helping the students understand the games and how to play them.  I think using images for the games is important because visual images helps students learn in an engaging and stimulating way.  Images are pleasing to the eye and will capture the students' attention during this activity.  I would like to make sure the objectives are met properly and to the best possible ways they can be met.  It is important to know and comprehend this knowledge of using interactive games educationally with our students.


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