Video games are a favourite hobby for millions of people around the world. From the old to the young, every age can easily enjoy some kind of Video Game and never has this past-time been more prevalent than today. With e-sports gamers earning 6 figure prizes for winning competitions, many children are looking up to these elite level gamers and aspiring to be like them.
Games and gaming have a very important and unique place in the classroom. For too long there has been the impression that if a child is playing or creating a game that they are just ‘playing’ when it could not be more of a polar opposite. Game creation through tools such as Sketch Nation Create and Bloxels allow the children to express themselves and their creativity in ways that other mediums do not allow whilst still tying into key National Curriculum objectives. As a basic example, pupils can create games based on a history or geography topic using characters and power-ups themed on this topic.
Pupils can take this far further in a tool such as Bloxels where they can use their creative writing skills to create a whole story based around the adventures of their character as well as their interactions with other characters in the game world.
It is not just game creation where children can thrive using games in the classroom. Minecraft is one of the most successful games in recent memory and the unique mix of creation and adventure appeals to many of the pupils we encounter. It can be used as an art project to create something grand out of blocks (whilst explaining their choices). It could be a re-creation of something real to scale where research is crucially important and where art meets history or geography. There are so many ways to use Minecraft, but most importantly it can be used collaboratively to promote teamwork and communication between children in a truly unique and engaging way.
As great as all of these tools and ideas sound, they are only useful if there is willingness to use them. Teachers need to embrace this technology and new way of teaching in order to get the best out of their pupils whilst simultaneously allowing their interests and skills to flourish. Many of the tools are also free and so there is nothing stopping an innovative teacher revolutionising their classroom with gaming.
Written by Phil Gregory, hi-impact consultancy