Gamifying the Classroom

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http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/03/gamifying-the-classroom-with-minecraft/

I’m sure many of us can recall sitting in our elementary and middle school classrooms listening to our teachers as they stood in front of the class at the blackboard. Thinking back on it, I can only imagine how bored I was sitting statically in my desk.

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What those lessons lacked was cultural relevance. Yes, it was important to learn the basic math facts and to study new vocabulary words, but isn’t there a better way to do it than just copying it down on paper? In all of the classes that I am taking, our professors discuss how we can become more engaging teachers that make our students interested in the material that they are learning. In our math class, we often talk about creating a classroom environment where students feel comfortable sharing their answers, and in language arts class we discuss using alternative methods to show that students have gained knowledge. For example, students could write songs and perform plays to present their interpretations of a book that they read in class.

Now and in the upcoming years when I become a teacher, using technology in the classroom is crucial in making lessons relevant. It is impossible to ignore the significance that technology has in our students’ lives. When using technology as a tool in a lesson, students are able to relate what they are learning to their everyday lives.

Lessons are relevant when using technology, but teachers still need to find ways, using technology, to excite their students about what they are learning. Lessons should be fun and engaging so that students are eager to learn.ipadkids-100603excited_students

One way to do this is by planning a lesson around gaming, or as the article calls it, ‘gamifying’ a lesson. Students are having fun while they are learning. This article discusses the game Minecraft. This game is a popular virtual reality game where students can build and destroy cities and towns. Although I am not very familiar with this game, the article depicts this game as one that any student can become interested in. There is a version of this game for teachers to use in the classroom. They are able to create their own modifications and adaptations to the game so that it applies to the lesson. For example, history teachers incorporate this game as part of their lesson plans by having students build their cities based on the ancient civilization that they are working on. Also, teachers can create blocks and require students to complete an assignment before they can move on in the game. In this image, a teacher uses a teacher block to help students learn how to write topic sentences.

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Gamifying your classroom is important because it makes lessons relevant and fun for the students. As shown in the above examples, any teacher, in any subject, can use games in the classroom through modifying the game. As a special education teacher, I believe that incorporating games in the classroom will be beneficial to my students because it allows me to scaffold the material for them, and it permits me to individualize everyone’s lessons.

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