On Saturday March 23rd, BrainPOP and Learning Games Network hosted a select group of educators for a one day professional development workshop designed to make game based learning a reality in the classroom. From game play to game design, we explored the various ways games can help engage students to build crucial academic and 21st century skills.
The day began with an inspirational keynote from designer Nick Fortugno, CCO of Playmatics and creator of Ayiti, the Cost of Life, a game featured on GameUp. Nick inspired us to think beyond games as assessment tools, and consider the fundamental characteristics of engagement, risk taking, exploration and curiosity that emerge when we play a great game. Next we explored all of the free games that tie into curriculum offered on GameUp. Teachers were thrilled to discover the breadth of games and appreciated the teacher support and CCSS alignment. We collectively played an exemplary online math game, Lure of the Labyrinth: Employee Lounge, by Thinkport and partners, and discussed our observations. Through taking risks and building conceptual understanding of algebra through playing the game, we acknowledged many of the takeaway points from the keynote.
In the afternoon we put on our creative hats with Learning Games Network’s Game Design Tool Kit. With guide and and prompt cards in hand, we generated lists of skills and concepts that teachers struggle to teach, and then brainstormed ways to design games to help students build understanding. This authentic challenge made for stimulating and thoughtful collaboration. After a few hours we emerged with design concepts for games to teach measurement and scale, the periodic table, and critical reading. Though nobody programmed a line of code, we had generated ideas for games that could, one day, be developed into full fledged learning experiences.
From game play to game design, the day was a valuable opportunity to engage and think deeply about this emerging educational trend.
For more information on CCSS alignment, be sure to visit our BrainPOP and the Common Core support page .