Ask a kid what their favorite school subject is and they might answer “recess” or “gym.”
Why is that such a frequent answer? It’s because free play is a time when they can be active, creative, loud, and play games at will.
You can capitalize on this love of play by incorporating educational games into your classroom. A recent article from Edudemic explained this theory further: Psychologists Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner believe that the best way to teach students is through “hands-on, active learning.”
According to Bruner, students engaging in game based learning experience these benefits:
- increased motivation
- buoyed creativity
- enhanced problem-solving skills
- a greater sense of personal responsibility
- the joy of autonomy and independence
The American Psychological Association agrees with Bruner’s theory. They recently studied “the effects of playing video games on student learning, social skills, and health. These professionals reported that playing video games, even violent ones, helps develop a person’s capacity for three-dimensional thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.”
So what games have other educators successfully used in the classroom?
- Minecraft – Dan Bloom has used this beloved video game to teach DNA extraction in his biology classes.
- Civilization IV – This strategy-based game has been successful for teacher Zach Gilbert who uses it to teach his students about history.
- The Walking Dead – More than just killing zombies, The Walking Dead has been used “as a means of learning ethics and decision-making.”
With a game-based learning method, “learning and play aren’t at odds with each other; in fact, games are the vehicle and environment for learning.”