It’s Not About The Game or Is It?

I teach Grade 3.  I have 21 students who clamber into my room and manage to end up on the carpet ready for our “morning messages” at 8:30 each day.  I give the kids an opportunity to speak about things going on in their life: what they were up to on the weekend, what is happening for their little brothers birthday party or whatever else is on their mind.  I have two students who continually talk about the games they play on their sleepovers and to be honest I can’t remember the name of the game but it is similar to a controlling one’s environment sort of game.  I say “wow, that’s great, thanks for sharing”.  Then we move on.

I like games. I wouldn’t call myself an avid gamer but I like playing them for a short time and then I get bored of it and move on.  I enjoy the reward aspect of games, the levelling up, the continued feeling of excitement when you  accomplish a task or a problem.

I never understood their place in classrooms until this week.



I enjoyed the article by Pim van de Pavoordt where he talks about how

…games can enhance traditional methods by making teaching more fun and engaging, while still keeping the  traditional way of teaching.  

A lot of the gaming discussion surrounds middle school students and so I began to wonder how I could make this relative for my young learners.  Some questions I had while thinking through this theory of gamification:

How can I still teach my curriculum and integrate an aspect of gaming?
What will others think when we start playing games?
How do we convince our colleagues and administration of this theory?
What is out there for gaming in the elementary years?
Or, simply, how do I find the time?

All good questions I think…but it has spurred me on to find the answers. I want to start simple and use our new iPads to find a free app that introduces coding or some aspect of problem solving.  I like the ownership that comes with gaming and the rewards that it brings. I see the social aspect being key to the success it can bring in my classroom.

I don’t think it’s about the game itself just like I don’t think it’s really about an app. I think it’s more about the potential it can bring to transform learning. That’s really what we want in any sort of technology redefinition in our classes, right? Whether it’s a game, an app, a website, a social interaction with the tools or whatever for me it is really about what technology can bring to the playing field.  If it’s playing a game, I’m all for it.

Does gaming have a place? Yes. What is that place? Don’t really have a clue but I will set out to find out….

2 thoughts on “It’s Not About The Game or Is It?

  • Tim,
    An app that teaches programming is RoboLogic (there’s a free version RoboLogicLE and a $1.99 version that goes to more levels). I used it a couple of years ago with my grade 6’s when I was programming lego robots in my math and science classes as a way of introducing programming. It can get pretty sophisticated with the idea of calling subroutines, etc. Good luck!

  • I love the idea of introducing coding into a grade 3 class! And I’m sure there are many ways to gamify that experience. Hope you blog about it if you find something good.

    Thanks for sharing. You have some great questions and I look forward to seeing how you answer them in your classroom.

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