I’m an avid board gamer. My husband and I own 180 designer board games from all over the world. (The best games in the world come from Germany, by the way.) I’ve been doing a lot of personal reading lately about gamification of learning—it’s the idea that we can use games to help kids learn–the game teaches students concepts, problem solving, and deductive skills.
When I was a kid we played a game called The Oregon Trail. It’s a really hard game–it takes place in the 18th century United States. We learned right away that bad decisions let to pretty drastic consequences–dysentery, typhoid, cholera, etc. We always could play this game at school during free time. We always wanted to play it. It taught us all about oxen, and weights, and diseases, and mostly, that it was ok to lose, because you certainly were going to lose many times in this game.
A popular learning tool right now is a game called Medieval Swansea. The game involves travelling through a town (Swansea, Wales) in 1290 and remembering and observing what different villagers say. Students have to ask the villagers questions, and weigh evidence in order to solve a mystery. It’s very addictive and engaging. Try it out and see how you do.
I think it would be really great if there were more games like this to help students learn. I think my e-learning course would benefit from a link to a dynamic learning tool game. I’m going to be on the look out for more.
Please stay tuned–I’m delving deeper into gamification this week.