June 2017 archive

Critical Reflection INF541



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!




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:


Survey: Students Opinions of GBL in a Regional Victorian School

I was able to survey a cross section of students at a regional secondary school in Victoria. In general, it was clear that the majority of students play games and believe they are a source of learning and motivation/engagement.

Here are the results.

I also collated student results to the examples of games they played in class and have grouped them in terms of their pedagogical underpinning. It seems as though a sizeable chunk of students included games they play outside of class time. This could account for the high number of computer off the shelf (COTs) titles included.


Please list your favourite games to play in class and briefly explain why you like them







Squirt squirt Ball games

ball games squirt squirt because they are fun and take away the border of learning



Farming Simulator because I want to be a farmer when I am older


parking mania, i play it on my phone, it taught me how to drive and park a car in real life.


Um more interactive stuff get students engaged, if you just put more technology i.e games it makes them less focussed, it may be good for the people who are super techy and live for computers but others will probably hate it, if the teacher here introduced more interactive learning and no technology it would be amazing.


Wink murder and other small games




Depends on what game, most games i play revolve around strategy and combat where as the games we play at school just aren’t really interesting to me.



Skill and Drill

hot maths






Some games such as kahoot are because you are competing against others but, others can be boring, and without any reward (ie winning)

Kahoot, Everyone loves it, motivates people to learn and they win like that.

Kahoot because it helps

Kahoot because it ios fun




Kahoot, because they test the knowledge that you learn in class and manages to make it fun while doing it.

I enjoy a kahoot every now and then. It brings excitement to the classroom while keeping things educational.

Kahoot, because it is exciting and fun

I don’t play games during class. Unless the teacher decided that a ‘Kahoot’ or other online learning activities. Then yes, I like those ones because they are educational.



freeriderHD offline editor, forza horizon 3, COD BO3, GTA 5.

Battlefield 1, Because it is fun

Fifa, Maden, NBA, Forza, Tom Clancy I like these games because they relate towards my hobbies and add an element of skill needed to be good at what you play.

GTA V cause its fun

NOT KAHOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

100 balls, moron test i like them because they are strategy games. they make you think

i like to play forza horizon 3 because im intrested in cars

firewatch, the art style

GTA 5. Farcry 4

and GTA V

Fps because their fun and intense

Nba 2k 11 because it goes on and on

Black Ops 3 and NBA 2K17

NBA and mostly other sports games and I don;t really know why I like them


energiser games we play with Mrs Mai

Name the most different things on a subject help you learn about the subject and is fun

I don’t play games in class, I prefer to read book and sniff the dust.

My mummy tells me not to play games. But i like to play COC (Clash of Clans) and Clash Royale. and especially Minecraft. Minecraft is my favourite game of all time. IT AMAZING!!!!

nba jam because i play with mates

Broforce The escapist Marble Blast

Call Of Duty: Because you can play with friends and its addictive.

FIFA 17 Because I believe that if you play it the right way you can learn and get a lot out of it

Survey: Teachers’ opinions and the use of GBL in their School

Recently, I was able to survey a number of teachers at a secondary school in regional Victoria. The result generally indicated that teachers viewed games as an acceptable learning platform but also raised many concerns about adopting the practice.

Here are the results. 


I thought I’d explore the responses to the two questions which required written answers. On the first, I tried to identify common themes within the responses. I’ve deconstructed it below. On the second, I grouped the games identified in terms of their pedagogical underpinnings.

List your concerns about increasing the use of Game Based Learning in your classroom.


-Finding games that specifically target skill areas in course.

-Issues centred around the monitoring and appropriate selection use of games

-Finding appropriate games to use

-It is important to keep the games used relevant and useful. I have been winess to some games that do not benefit the students using them.

-Suitable games often don’t exist for my classes.


-Ensure strong links to curriculum, not just a fun activity.

-It is important that the learning within the game is identifiable. Not all games achieve this and therefore, whilst engaging are not useful.

 –Needs to be closely tied in with clearly prescribed learning outcomes. Needs to have relevancy.

 –The only concern would be related to time. Is there time within the topic plan/curriculum to allow for games to be played and can the games be adapted to the topic being learned.



-distractions of non-educational games.

-Students not understanding the purpose of learning through games, misusing resources, time wasting

-students may not take them seriously, or play other games.

-Students becoming off task

-Game playing can become an expectation, too immersed, (1) not being able to stop and listen or (2) going off track.

-That it would distract them from the actual topic or task at hand.

-Miss use of devices in class. Will expect that it will happen most lessons.


Negative Impact

-That students do not get enough time off computers and are spending less time talking to people face-to-face

-Students will only want to do that

-That the game over-rides the learning- needs to be very purposeful

-taking time away from developing skills with traditional materials

-students spend too much time on laptops

-My only concern would be around inappropriate violence or content.

-There is room for some game based learning in the classroom. I have seen some positive games used in both Literacy and Maths, however, too much screen time and other games that are not really related can be more of a distraction. I feel that games should be used appropriately or as a reward or recap.

– Students are concerned with finishing the game with the highest score or the fastest and aren’t concerned with the actual learning. I have used some simulation games in classes and have noticed some students just remembering where they clicked not the actual answer to the question.

– increased screen time for students, not focussing on other important areas and ways of learning


Lack of Teacher PD

-My main concern is that I don’t feel I know enough about how to run them effectively nor I am aware of what is available

-Time to develop

-I would need PD!


How to Monitor/assess

-Monitoring appropriate use



Limited Application to ‘Real World’

-Linking back to the real world

-Difficulty young people may have transferring learning from game context to application of learnt skills/knowledge.


-none, i use them regularly

-welcome it

-I fully support the use of any teaching strategies that engage the learner and encourages higher order thinking skills. I believe that any Learning stratgey needs to balanced, and care taken to ensure that we address the learning styles of all.

-Lack of use of learning intentions and success criteria.

-There is room for some game based learning in the classroom. I have seen some positive games used in both Literacy and Maths, however, too much screen time and other games that are not really related can be more of a distraction. I feel that games should be used appropriately or as a reward or recap.

– Computer games are ‘individual’. Unless they involve interaction with peers and older positive influences, they contribute to intra personal communication skills.



Q2-Explain where you’ve used Games or Game-Based Learning at SJE (Year Level, Game, Unit)


Pragmatic (simulations)

-Gambling unit in maths

-9 Hums – Industrial Revolution – Create your village 9 Hums – Industrial Revolution

-Colorado simulations in chemistry

-8RE social justice unit – they do a simulation activity (not an actual game) on what it’s like to be a refugee


-Careers with year 9

-Legal Studies unit 1: CSI

-Shogun 2 (8 Hums)

-Year 8 Humanities, Mind Craft in order to show how a castle is built.

Skill and Drill

-VCAL – OHS Unit

-Year 7 Maths- Hotmaths,

-To teach about Italian contents and vocabulary (clothes, days and months, numbers, verbs, etc…)

-year 7 maths: maths quest (jacplus), hotmaths

-year 7/8 English: knowledge quest (jacplus)

-Installed a game onto everyones computer in the school where students had to build molecules. Use pHet

-Hotmaths and sumdog games in maths

-Similar – Year 7, 8 ,9 online piano tutorials with scrolling graphics that kind of represent a game.

-Yr 11 PE Whack a bone and poke a muscle (learning bones and muscles)

-Year 7 Spelling

-Year 10 MLO Money and WBU Supply & Demand

-I am not sure of your definition of a game – the only thing that I can think of that I am using right now is Duolingo and I am not sure that I would call it a game. I also use languages online which plays interactive games to reinforce content related to Italian Grammar.

-Unit 3 Biology – Immune system attack game

-Maths – games on HotMaths to develop number skills, spatial awareness, consolidate classroom practice


-Year 7 Kahoot- Woodwork

-To date I have really just used quiz type competitions

-Kahoots across various subjects

-HUMS- revision of Greek gods quiz on… kahootz

-Class Dojo

-Does a Kahoot count?

-Students have designed their own Kahoots to consolidate knowledge.

I have used “Sing Star” in the past for singing classes. Students have competitive fun while needing to focus on pitch and duration accuracy.


-Year 9 Game design, Year 7 and 8 ICT

Multipop (word game)

ICT – Scratch