This post is going to be a little disjointed, but I’ll see if I can tie it all together.
I admit I am still a novice when it comes to gaming in the classroom. I understand the distinction between gamification and gaming in the classroom. I like the concept behind gamifying (don’t judge me on the spelling) your classroom as it seems to have a real world feel to it. A lot of corporations use some sort of system to reward employees. By gamifying your classroom students have a visible way to track their progress. If you want to learn more, read this article. Gaming is using games to enhance the learning in the classroom. I do like to use games in the class and students seem to really respond to it. They are all pretty competitive and it is fun to see a class transformed by a great game. I personally like use kahoot, will use Geoguesser as a brain break, and am all about some non-tech based games like stop the bus and skunk. What games do you guys use in the classroom?
I’ve been hooked on Snood, Candy Crush, and FIFA at different points in my life. My students all seemed to be hooked on silly game or another. They are always on some kind of game during break time or in between transitions. Students seem to love to game in the classroom because it is something that is so prevalent in their own lives. Some love to game way more than others. I have one boy on my caseload who has taken gaming to the extreme. He loves to game more than any other student I’ve come across. He’s logged over 5000 hours on DOTA and it has come at quite a personal toll. He’s fallen behind in school work and has a really small circle of DOTA playing friends. He’s an extremely bright boy who is able to get by by just doing the bare minimum of school work. By all accounts he is very good, and wants to turn professional as soon as possible. Like a professional athlete, DOTA players have a small window in which they are competitive and can make some good money. There are always younger and better players to deal with and this window can close quite soon. I’ve had a number of conversations with the boy and he raises some valid points. He doesn’t see himself as any different than a star athlete that devotes his or her time to training for football or basketball. He has also told me Esports are on the rise, and he is right about that as well. Espn just lunched an Esports site. I get his point. He is doing something that he loves, that gives him an identity, and he sees that he has a future in it. Maybe I am old and you guys can convince me otherwise in your comments below, but I feel that DOTA, and Esports in general are a lot more risky than traditional sports.
When you are outside training for a sport you are getting exercise, Vitamin D, interacting with nature and face to face camaraderie is taking place. Old man Baker feels that DOTA is a lot of visual stimulation–blinking light-bright flashes–and lots, I mean lots of screen time. That can’t be healthy can it? You are cooped up in a dark room for hours at a time watching bright lights on a screen. I get that you improve twitch muscle reaction time and there are some improvements to concentration, however, there seems to be way more negative than positive. I do plan on keeping an open mind about the Esport revolutoin, just as I have about gaming in the classroom. I think it is all about finding balance. There is balance that btween games and other methods to teach the content, just as there must be balance in our personal lives between gaming and the real world.