Reflecting back, my first blog post “The Kids are Still Playing Games” raised a point that’s directed my learning in this subject. I wrote:
The YouTube video “How games prepare you for life – Education: 21st Century Skills” makes a solid point where it argues that it’ll be up to teachers to make knowledge and skills acquired from the games meaningful. (Grant, 2017, para. 10)
The role of the teacher is pivotal (Hattie, 2012). Within the GBL classroom, this seems to be even more the case. Well before getting your students to push start on any game, careful considerations must be made. Beavis et al., (2014) highlighted that educators need to take into consideration socio-economical factors as well as differences in gender and cultural background that can have “a profound impact upon how/when/why students would be engaged or motivated in working with specific games” ( p. 577). De Freitas & Oliver (2006) believe a next step follows a line of questioning where the educator asks questions surrounding which game fits best with the learning context, the pedagogical activities that relate to learning activities and the validity of the game’s use (p.251). Exploring models like O’Brien’s (2011) ‘Taxonomy of Educational Games’ can greatly help clarifying learning objectives.
While many of these considerations seem second nature now, at the time I entered the subject, my design choices were more a “willy-nilly application than calculated, planned usage” (Grant, 2017). Having an awareness of the potential dangers of using GBL is also part of what’s required of educators today. M. Karen Malbon and I both remarked on the concerning links games share with gambling based on the provocation from King, Delfabbro & Griffiths (2010).
This subject has provided me with an opportunity to grow professionally and expand my professional learning network. It seems as though I’m part of a vibrant cluster of #INF541 educators that love to share their thoughts and findings on Twitter. Contributing to this learning community through professional dialogue has enabled me to view multiple perspectives on GBL issues. Co-hosting a Twitter chat on assessment 3 exemplified this as well as weekly online video conferences Jacques du Toit to unpack the readings. Don’t be fooled, Jacques and I were actually engaged in professional discourse there!
#INF541 Join @jdtriver and I for a chat on Assessment 3! pic.twitter.com/6cNuPjsdRw
— Jordan Grant (@JTGrant81) April 2, 2017
Overall, in terms of my understanding of the GBL, I feel that schools do themselves a disservice if they present their students with a watered down version of it. They must strive to embed it within their cultures. I’d advocate utilising much of what is described in the ‘10 Core Practices Defining The Game School’. This clear statement of values helps embed a gaming culture. If GBL programs are to be successful, professional development needs to be prioritised.
Over the course of the subject, I often felt like I couldn’t prioritise the gaming experience over the required readings. This and the elements of full-time work and family have definitely impacted my ability to fully engage in the subject material. I did however thoroughly enjoy it and I believe it’s made me a better educator with a couple of extra tools in his tool belt.
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London: