Games Can Help Struggling Students Learn
Allie Bidwell, of US News, writes that;
“It seems like kids do everything online these days – and school is no exception. More and more, educators are taking advantage of digital advances to supplement their teaching in the classroom, and are seeing encouraging results. This is especially the case for certain subgroups of students that typically struggle academically, such as English language learners and special education students.
“The classroom you went to school in is almost the exact same classroom you’d walk into today, but the level of engagement our kids get outside of the classroom has changed dramatically,” says Jessica Lindl, general manager of the digital gaming company GlassLab and a spokesperson for the game SimCityEDU. “Teachers are almost the entertainers trying to find whatever tool they can to try to engage their kids.”
Lindl says the SimCityEDU game helps engage kids by helping them improve basic cognitive functions and critical thinking. In the game, students serve as the mayor of a city and are immediately faced with challenges – they must address environmental impacts on the city while maintaining employment needs and other relationships.
Although Lindl says it’s important to use games as a supplement to classroom-based learning, such digital outlets have added benefits.
“There is continuous positive feedback,” Lindl says. “Learners are way more likely to feel comfortable with a video game than taking a standardized test and that’s really powerful.”
Additionally, video games in the classroom provide teachers, administrators and parents with a plethora of data to give assessments on students’ performances that Lindl says is invaluable, not just because of the granularity of the data, but also because it shows student achievements in real time. Other times, parents and students may have to wait weeks or months, depending on the test, to see their results.
“When you think of learning games, engagement and game mechanics is exciting, but there’s a critical value proposition around game-based assessments that we’re seeing,” Lindl says. “Teachers, students and parents can have in the moment understanding of what the child is learning, how they arrived at that learning and accelerate what the learning is, as opposed to waiting weeks down the road.”
Another valuable aspect of using games in the classroom is the competition (and hence reward) mechanisms built into some games.
At Mario Umana Academy in Boston, students from kindergarten through eighth grade have been using a program called First in Math since 2010.”
To read the full article by Allie Bidwell, of US News, click here;