Games are ubiquitous digital activities that students , regardless of their grade level, engage in online. They play them on their computers, smart phones, with each other and with others they have never met. Several scientific studies published in this regard speak for the advocacy of game integration in education (see the list of resources at the end of this post). I have spent sometime reading some of these studies and came up with the list below featuring the main reasons why you need to consider using games in your teaching.
1- Games combine activities that require movement, listening, speaking, reading, and writing. As such games activate both the right and left sides of the brain. According to Judy Dodge (author of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom, 2009), “If you’re only listening, you’re only activating one part of the brain, but if you’re drawing and explaining to a peer, then you’re making connections in the brain.”
2- Gaming activities stimulates kids brain., and as Ben Mardell, PhD( researcher with Project Zero at Harvard University) argues : kids learn through all their senses and they like to touch and manipulate things”.
3- Students have different learning styles and games can cater to all these styles: auditory, kinaesthetic, tactile, and visual learners.
5- Games enhance students motor skills coordination, an essential element for carrying on functional activities throughout their entire lives.
6- Situated learning (local learning or inside learning) is greatly enhanced through game play.
7- Virtual game environments provide learners with an immersive experience that encompasses frequent opportunities for reflection and collaborative meaning construction.
8- According to Richard Van Eck, Games and play can be effective learning environments not because they are fun but because they are : immersive, require the player to make frequent important decisions; have clear goals, adapt to each player individually; and involve a social network.
9- Their social and experiential natures make out of games ideal activities for developing memory, understanding, and problem solving.
10- Most of popular games develop communities around them. These communities are what James Paul Gee called “affinity space”. In these gaming affinity spaces, gamers get to share ideas, use group problem-definition and problem solving, socialize and develop social skills .
11- According to SRI Study released a year ago, games particularly digital games can improve students achievements in areas of Math, Science, engineering, and technology.
I also invite you to check the infographic below to learn more about how games help students learn.
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