How might video games enhance my students’ learning?
I think there is a time and place for video games. I do think that kids can practice a skill and retain it through some use of games. I think like anything if it is over used it will eventually become like anything, in effective. We don’t teach all subjects the same and all topics for that matter. There are different approaches for different topics.
One concern I do have is the application of that skill in a different context. Do they know it because it is a game or do they actually know the skill? I also think this is where teaching comes into play if you know the programs and are watching your students you can relate things to them by reminding them of the game or what is going on in class. You have to make sure they know that this is not just a toy. I see it like manipulatives. We always have detailed instructions about what the manipulatives are for, the video game should be treated in a similar manner otherwise the students just see it as a game and don’t apply anything.
1. Explore programming sites that you might use with students (or teachers, depending on the age group that you teach).
I teach 3rd – 5th math and there are many sites out there that claim to be math based. During free time and after school my students like to play Cool Math Games. Another site that we have recently started using in Reflex Math. We gained access to this program through a grant. I have my students that need to retain basic math facts on this program. I Use IXL a lot for practice but is not a “video game”.
2. Learn to program using one of these sites – at the level appropriate for you.
The program I will discuss in this forum is Reflex Math. It is a fairly new program. It is intended to help students learn their basic math facts so they can be recalled with fluency. The program is intended to be used a minimum of 3 days a week. There is a ninja which catches students attention right away. In the beginning there is a process of assessment that does frustrate many students because they cannot do it quickly. After the assessment the game adapts to the students needs. It does go rather fast during the practice and skill building portion, which has frustrated other students.
After a certain amount of time on a game it does give students a fence post that says something is coming up and it is a different activity. But that comes with time they cannot just jump from one to the next.
3. Reflect on your process, the Alaska State Standards/NETS-T Standards you believed you may have met, and the impact that this process could have on those you teach.
The standard that we meat with this is a very basic need to mathematics it is covered in grades 1 and 2, math fact fluency, then practiced in grade 3 and up. By then these facts are supposed to be fluent. Right now they are not fluent with over half of our students. This program may target a consistent problem we have in our school. Currently it is too early to tell but one of my lowest students has gained 5 facts and can get those on the game quickly.
4. Who in your PLN did you consult with about this process? How did they respond or assist?
I was actually approached by the SPED teacher about this program. She was exposed to it at a conference and applied for the grant. Once we were accepted and had what we needed she began using it with the student. She and I keep in contact about his progress. Again the student had gained fluency with 5 more facts before Spring Break, we will test the student retention of this material when we return to class.