There are many people our there that believe in the impact of games based learning, there are also many who do not believe in it. Many would like proof of the impact on learning and the impact on education. Last year during a period of 6 to 8 weeks, I decided to create a project which was solely based on the use of the Xbox and the Kinect in my lessons.
The Olympics were a popular topic due to the UK hosting them. Many people in my family had suggested that it might be fun to play the Kinect in the classroom. The only problem I had was with the context of using it. There are some people who use technology for the sake of using it. We must remember that we need to have a purpose. Without purpose, we could end up with students actually playing the game rather than getting anything from the activity.
Databases are usually quite disengaging for students. They don't like to use databases and they can't see the purpose for using it. I created a scheme of work which required students to come up with questionnaires. The students had the aim of finding out which "House" (like in Harry Potter) were better at sports. The aim was to encourage their critical thinking.
The students created data entry forms and thought about the audience and they had to record their scores while playing the game. We used Kinect Sports 1 and Kinect Sports 2. Upon playing these games the students would record their scores and they would pass their sheets around the class. Playing the game gave them a buzz and they wanted to carry out the investigation even further. This was only one part of the game.
Upon entering the scores, the students played games created using the Kinect SDK. I developed some spelling tests for use with the Kinect. Upon getting the correct spelling, the student would need to show understanding of each term. Following on from this, I decided to create a quiz. The quiz would get students to answer multiple choice questions by hovering their hands over the correct answers. The students had fun with the quiz and upon analyzing the results you can see that the students levels have increased.
Each week, the students work was published so that students could show their parents. This is a beneficial part to the process and it helps keeps the parents involved.
A previous unit of work which is usually quite easy for students didn't include any use of gaming technology. The students made videos and were marked against UK level criteria. Upon taking up a difficult piece of work using databases and the game based technology the students achieved much higher levels. You can see the impact in the image and you can see the number of students achieving the higher level.
This supports the fact that when delivering games based learning within your curriculum, if delivered efficiently and if it is engaging, your students will benefit from both progress and their ability to sustain the knowledge. One tool which is helpful is the on going blog.
You can click here to find out more about the scheme of work.