Game-based Learning is nothing new. In fact, the video below is from 2010. Five years ago, Jane McGonigal gave an inspiring TED Talk, that was a call-to-action for this very topic. So…where are all the games? Where are the groundbreaking Game-based Learning changes that we’ve made to our classrooms?

Our students are playing video games more than ever! This isn’t a fad or trend that is going to fade away. Before video games, kids thrived when playing challenging board games, strategic card games, and creative backyard games. Even now with video games, young people love to bring their gaming strategies to life on the laser tag and paintball “battlefields.” Games are a powerful aspect of our students lives. We, as educators, need to harness that power, make it relevant to how and what we teach, and provide students with opportunities to apply their skills in intentional and meaningful ways.

In the video, McGonigal speaks of the specific skills that are developed through game play. I agree with her, that if recognized, encouraged, and expanded upon, these skills will flourish and allow our students to see the real-world impact they can have.

The skills developed through gaming…

  • Urgent Optimism: While playing, gamers are extremely self-motivation and resilient. They act immediately and decisively to overcome challenges and attack obstacles. They believe that there is a realistic chance of success, and therefore are unafraid to take risks.
  • Social Fabric: Gaming builds a strong sense of community. Young people develop strong connections with the other players, trust that those individuals will support them and do their part in the game, and nurture a deep understanding of cooperation and collaboration.
  • Blissful Productivity: In games, students work hard, fail over and over again, learn from their mistakes, and apply what they have learned in hopes of being successful next time…all the while they are having fun! The enthusiastic approach to games allow for hours of engaged skill development, a multitude of positive interactions, and an authentic, joyful experience.
  • Epic Meaning: The problem-based nature of games allows players to feel that they are part of something larger than themselves. One person really can make a difference! Everyone loves feeling like they are a part of something big. This feeling motivates and inspires them to keep playing to solve any problem they encounter.

The big question is…how does this look in our classrooms? Now, I am not talking about “Gamification“, or taking the elements of games and applying them to lessons, units, and projects. For more information about gamification, shoot a message to Michael Matera (@mrmatera). He is a gamification guru and would love to help you out. No, this week Tuesday, January 20th at 9pm CST, #Edbean will be discussing the power of Game-based Learning. We’ll be looking at how we can take games and use them in our classroom to enhance our students learning and understanding. We’ll discuss ways to further develop the skills of Urgent Optimism, Social Fabric, Blissful Productivity, and Epic Meaning through game play in our classrooms. We will offer ideas for games that you can use in your classroom: video games, board games, theatre games, and more!

Join us for a Twitter chat that will hopefully inspire you to make the changes in your classroom that will lead to the future of which Jane McGonigal speaks…where games are not seen as a problem to get rid of, but rather a solution to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems!


Storify of the Chat

Questions for this Week’s Chat

Q1: We all have different understandings & experiences with Game-based Learning. Please share your definition of and experience with Game-based Learning. What is it? What is it not? How do you use it in your classroom?

Q2: Between the ages of 15 and 25 yrs old, young adults spend 10,000 hours playing video games. Our students are spending the same amount of time with video games as with school. What skills are developed in students as they play these games?

Q3: Virtual Connections versus Real-Life Relationships – Gamers develop strong connections with the other players. How do these connections compare to the real-life relationships developed in a classroom?

Q4: We’re not waiting unti Q8 to start sharing great GBL resources! Please share some video game resources and tools you use and know of for Game-based learning.

Q5: As a Drama teacher, I use all kinds of games in my classroom! Game-based learning is not just about video games. What are some other types games that can be played in the classroom setting?

Q6: Just because we know the value of games, doesn’t mean we implement them in our classes. What are some obstacles that might stand in the way of incorporating Game-based learning into your classroom?

Q7: Many heads are better than one…we can overcome any obstacle! What are some strategies for overcoming the obstacles that prevent successful Game-based learning?

Q8: Exit ticket – This week’s idea was provided by @Mr_JSpike. We want to moderate discussions on topics in which educators are interested. Please share a few topic ideas for future #Edbean chats!