Gamification is the “process of adding game elements or mechanics to an experience” and may include competing groups of students, rewards/points, timed activities or badges. Game-based learning adapts traditional learning experiences with a virtual game framework and provides an authentic real-world context, clear goals, feedback and a high degree of student interaction. (Mindsearch.org) True game-based learning, aside from online quiz games generally thought to be gamed-based learning, is based on a framework which defines a problem and requires a solution.
Game-based learning engages GT students giving them the opportunity to make decisions about their own learning. It empowers them to take charge and allows them to take risks in a safe environment where failure doesn’t matter.
Any downside to game-based learning rests on the misunderstanding of what it is and/or poor implementation. GT students know when they’re being ‘played’. It’s important they play a role in deciding what constitutes this type of learning. Game-based learning must be intended as a resource that challenges gifted kids; more than as a source for extrinsic rewards. Professional development is essential which clearly delineates what game-based learning is and what gamification of the current curriculum looks like.
Strategies for introducing game-based learning should consider utilizing GT students to choose the games or even design the games to be used. Gamification of the curriculum should be predicated on the belief that it will enhance learning rather than solely seek to increase classroom engagement. Gifted elementary learners can add their voice in deciding how to do this. Game-based learning should be flexible, promote higher level thinking skills, include enrichment activities that are complex, and cover a wide-ranging interdisciplinary curriculum.
Formative assessments conducted during the learning process can modify teaching and learning activities and they are appealing to GT students who often see themselves as partners in the learning process. The games themselves are the assessment and can be used to teach as well as measure 21st century skills. As a complex problem space, the game actually collects the data and shows if the student is progressing.
Although somewhat passé with younger kids since the advent of Fortnite, Minecraft is still a good option. Familiarity with the game and its popularity outside school appeals to kids; it doesn’t seem like traditional learning. Another upcoming game, RoboCo from Filament, is another good example of a game which will appeal to gifted students. It’s a virtual robotics kit aimed at middle school and high school students that simulates building robots in virtual reality. It’s being partially funded by the NSF grants. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
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About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Exciting new approach to classroom learning! (YouTube 8:35)
Gertrude’s Secrets (Wikipedia)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conard
Learning by Designing Games (with useful resources, #GBL)
Beyond Badges: Why Gamify? From @edutopia