Games that generate data e.g. Kinect Sports and Kinect Joy Ride are great for teaching Maths and Statistics. Games that tell a story are great for developing creative writing. Puzzle games can develop problem solving and and physics based games such as Angry Birds can be used to explain velocity and momentum.
For example, you could play part of a game and ask students to describe what they saw and what they heard. You could ask students to write a story about what happens to the character next or to create a character of their own – complete with biography. You could have a race and record the lap times and use them to work out mean, mode and median or use a game to start a Socratic debate.
One game I have used to great affect is Kinect Sports. I have used it to teach Spreadsheet Skills however, the same principles can be used to teach statistics or graphs.
In order to practice spreadsheet skills, students take it in turns to complete Track & Field events using Kinect Sports on the Xbox. The students then compile the raw data generated by the class and input these into a suitable spreadsheet. The students then use basic and advanced skills to improve the look and functionality of their spreadsheet. Note: You don’t have to use Kinect Sports! You can use any game that generates scores or lap times. You can find copies of the lesson plans and resources for this activity here: http://www.pil-network.com/Resources/LearningActivities/Details/9c8bf857-16fb-4f51-bb69-0d93196cc745
Obviously, using games in the classroom to support teaching and learning does serve up unique challenges. One of the main challenges is how to share one console with a class full of students and how do you can prevent certain students dominating the activity or the activity itself distracting from everything else. Here are some suggested strategies to support games based learning:
Games based learning can be fun and engaging so what not try it yourself and share your own success stories!