Video Games and Learning

How might video games enhance my students’ learning?

In my experience video games are very engaging and when used appropriately extremely educational. I think the most beneficial part of video games is that they are goal orientated, challenge students in a variety of ways and give students choices. Students are in charge of their learning while playing the video games, which is very powerful.

I reviewed dozens of games this week and found some really fun and engaging games, and some really not so engaging games. The first game I investigated that I found worthy with is called Monster Physics! This game really engaged the students and has a lot to offer for the dollar price tag. The students really mastered the game much faster than I did, which was a bit humbling. The game connects does to many of my physical science standards dealing with Newton’s Laws nicely as well. Students demonstrated did demonstrate many new skills having to do with force, momentum, circular motion, and more. Obviously some students picked this game up very fast, while others found it a bit challenging to figure out all the ins and outs of the game. I did not share this game with my PLN as it was shared through the MOOC; I am interested in what other science teachers think of the game, and will share the game later.

The next game I investigated is a roller coaster creator called: Build a Coaster. This game has students add different sections of the coaster to try and get the best ride possible for the riders. Students do like this game, but it is limited in its learning potential. This game does help students meet the same standards as the game mentioned above. The game is good for a short introduction to roller coaster physics, but does not offer extensive educational opportunities. Overall this is a decent game, but limited in applying motion and math concepts. Students demonstrated some skills in problem solving an increased understanding of what the roller coaster riders could handle without getting hurt. I would say that students couldn’t demonstrate through this game that they have mastered the targeted skills. I have shared this site with other science teachers at my school and with my PLN through this blog.

Anther roller coaster game/ creator at: http://www.bestphysics.com/physics-games/roller-coaster-creator/ This game is actually very engaging and has levels, so students are more motived to continue playing to reach the next level. This game has more elements to it than the previously mentioned game, and students stayed interested longer in the game. The game does have the student’s problem solve and think about motion concepts well. This game is overall more appealing and engaging than most roller coaster games/creators I have worked with.

This past week I haven’t spent a large amount of time communicate within my PLN. I have been reading many blog postings and responding to a few, but nothing close the goals I have set for myself. I have checked Twitter for resources and ideas but have not posted. I did discuss the group project through my group’s Edmodo group. We are focusing on differentiating through Edmodo. This week I hope to be much more active in communicating within my PLN.

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