Game based learning, GBL, can be defined as a type of game play that has specific learning goals. It is designed for the students to learn, retain and apply the content to the real world (Editorial Group, 2013). However, not everyone has this same mindset, resulting in GBL being considered a controversial subject. The most frequent concerns of using games in the classroom is the amount of screen time, it replaces the teacher and peer interactions, and whether the content is relevant or not (Kline 2014). Yet, there are many advantages in using games in the classroom if used in a meaningful way and balanced with other learning methods.
I feel that one critical component of using games is for the ease of differentiating and personalizing the learning for each student. Many programs, such as Reflex Math and Lexia Core 5, are tailored to the student based on a pre-assessment conducted during the introduction to the particular online resource. These games will also give immediate feedback, informing students in a more timely manner. Many games build basic skills, such as math and read fluency. Those skills are built upon each other, providing essential scaffolding, and can then be applied to another content. Games can also help in the development of their logic, their accuracy and problem solving. Many situational games require students to make decisions quickly and through routine opportunities can become more effecient problem solvers. Ultimately, when it comes down to it, it grabs and sustains the student’s attention because they are actively engaged in their own learning and it is fun for them.
In one of the articles I read, Kline discusses 2 recent studies with students using games. A study conducted in Ireland found 62 percent of people who play online games are more empathetic for different cultures and people, compared to 50 percent of people who do not play games. They wonder whether this same idea, allowing students to play games with others worldwide could develop a more empathetic community. Kline discusses another study that promotes the notion of playing fast paced games increases someone’s attention, quick reflex, complex motor and cognitive demands. Game based learning is fairly new, so I feel that more studies need to be conducted at various levels, with different purposes, to determine the direct impact of this learning method.
Editorial Team. (2013, April 23) What is GBL (game-based learning)? [Msg] Message posted to http://edtechreview.in/dictionary/298-what-is-game-based-learning
Ledda, R. (2015). Benefits of using games-based learning in Education. [Msg] Message posted to https://www.educatornetwork.com/HotTopics/gamesbasedlearning/benefits
Shapiro, J. (2014, June 13) Benefits of gaming; what reseach shows. [Msg] Message posted to http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/06/13/benefits-of-gaming-what-research-shows/
TeamThought Staff. (2013, March 15). 6 benefits of games-based learning. [Msg] Message posted to http://www.teachthought.com/video-games-2/6-basic-benefits-of-game-based-learning/