The Many Uses of Education Games in K-12 Education
Rather than feuding with time spent on virtual games, several educators have developed programs to target language arts topics, within popular activities. GSummit speaker, Amy Baskin, designed the “Grammar Olympics” to meet student needs with language arts and increase engagement. Other educators, in North Carolina, have developed a common core-based language arts curriculum that can be completed entirely in “World of Warcraft.” They’ve also used incidental teaching to discuss ethics and morality with students during participation.
While Starcraft 2 is being incorporated into some college mathematics courses, younger students may benefit from this practice as well. Algebra is often a challenge for students, so some educators have incorporated “Angry Birds” to illustrate parabolic movement and provide students with motivation that solving an algebraic equation may not.
A study completed recently by George Washington University suggests that video games can motivate some children to move more. Data show that young children, those in third through fifth grade, actually moved enough when participating with video games to meet the criteria for vigorous physical activity. This program focused primarily on games like “Dance Dance Revolution” and “Winds of Orbis.” While research still needs to target older children, video games can improve the activity level of some.
With the popularity of clubs and activities such as “Minecraft Club” growing, students who may have social challenges and prefer to withdraw to a virtual world have the opportunity to interact with others. Some educators view this engagement around a common interest as a way to teach social interactions that can then transfer to real world success.
Although incorporating games in the curriculum may require technology funds and teacher time, the potential for student benefit is continuing to be support by grant funds and research findings.
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