Educators have long used classroom games for everything from reviewing lesson content to reinforcing learning and motivating students. And given the incredible popularity of video games, teachers are increasingly “gamifying” traditional (and even low-tech) lessons by infusing common video-game motivators into the student learning experience. So what makes some classroom games better than others?
James Paul Gee, in What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, notes that the learning principles inherent in effective games are supported by research in cognitive science, which studies human thinking and learning, including students’ learning in classrooms.
Some of these learning principles include the following. While Gee focused on video games, many of these principles also apply to simpler, low-tech classroom games. Use the following as a checklist when deciding whether to incorporate a particular game into your classroom routine.
The Math Machine (free online math games)
The Science Machine (free online science games)
The Reading Machine (free online literacy games)