The latest issue of Syllabus, an open access journal that explores the syllabus as a piece of scholarship that should be annotated and shared with the educational community, is entirely dedicated to Teaching with and about Games. As an advocate of games in the classroom, I was very excited when I first saw the call for this issue from editors Jennifer deWinter and Carly A. Kocurek, and I’ve just finished reading through it. There are a number of ideas from the collection (which is practically a book in itself) with possibilities for a variety of disciplines. Here are a few of the takeaways that might inspire you with a new way to bring games into the classroom:
Instructure has launched a series of massive open online courses (MOOCs) for K-12 teachers, students and parents, including two that use Minecraft to help teachers implement gamification best practices in the classroom.
The first Minecraft MOOC, Getting Started with MinecraftEDU, is designed to introduce teachers to using the game as an educational tool and provides help on planning the first two lessons with the game. The course will run October 20-November 17.
As Jordan Shapiro said at the 2014 Global Education & Skills Forum:
Games are not just about entertainment and distraction anymore. We need to approach them as a particular kind of persuasion — a particular kind of rhetoric. A particular way of looking at the world. A different way of thinking.
Well, Jordan pretty much hits the nail on the head.
Once seen as a form of entertainment or a way to pass the time, games are now becoming prevalent in every industry — particularly in education. Everyone is catching on to the fact that games are engaging. Games are addictive. Educational. Motivational. Games are powerful tools for change and learning.
But what gives games these qualities? And what can educators learn from the gaming industry that they can apply to teaching?