Use of Games in School

Serious learning games are basically designed to be used as a learning material. But is it enough to let students play with the game or should we prepare additional activities to enhance learning? How can we integrate learning games into lessons?

As teachers we are aware of the fact that we have limited time to present certain topic, so we need good reasons and strategies to integrate a new strategy into our lessons. Serious learning games can be one of appropriate learning materials if used correctly. For this reason, we are presenting some methods which can be used in order to effectively integrate serious games into lessons.

Games can be very effective if used as motivation before the lecture. The game environment can help students to focus on the topic that needs to be learned. For example using game we can illustrate life in a specific era. This can be achieved by showing scenes or playing certain parts of the game as an illustration before the lesson. It is recommended that this activity is followed by gameplay either at school or as homework.

Another example of integration of serious game into lecture is that the teacher plays the game as an illustration of the theme one is explaining. This gameplay can consist of playing just short parts of the game during the lesson, which helps students visualise the topic presented by the teacher.

Games can also be used as a group activity in classroom. This is not a classical lecture as social constructivistic approach is used. Strong motivational elements can be found in this kind of activity: flow experience, challenge of the game that should fit the ability of the players, feeling in control of the situation, clear, appropriate and immediate feedback, peer interaction and collaboration, where each member of the team is responsible for learning outcomes of the group and others. After the gameplay teachers should discuss the main learning goals from the game with students and point out main objectives so students reflect on the knowledge they should have obtained from the game.

As playing games in class may be a time consuming activity it is also possible to use games as home activity. This can be done as a continuation of the first two methods mentioned or as independent activity. If used as the latest, it should be followed by analysis or reflection later in classroom, which can be organised as discussion or group work based on the game, which helps students make joint conclusions, as well as detect and correct misunderstandings. It is recommended that students gain some initial background knowledge before the activity.

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