Supporting Educator Use of Game-Based Learning Environments
Author: Kenneth Holman
Pre-service teachers will benefit from utilizing alternative instructional techniques to enhance learning for students. Have you thought about using game-based learning to enhance your student’s understanding of content? To understand the benefits of game-based learning CIDDL invited Dr. Jessica Hunt from North Carolina State University and Dr. Michelle Taub from the University of Central Florida to discuss how game-based technologies could support assessment with a focus on introducing the fraction game called Dream2B. Dr. Matthew Marino led the discussion by asking both Dr. Hunt and Dr. Taub questions related to the research-based game and its implications for teacher preparation. Throughout the discussion, each of the panelists dive into both the development of the game as well as how it could be implemented in the classroom.
What is Dream2B?
Dream2B is a fraction-based math video game designed for Tier 2 level mathematics classrooms. Students play through six different words to learn a new fraction concept with different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) career paths. The game can be used to supplement existing material on fractions, reinforce core fraction concepts, and serve as an intervention for students who are struggling to grasp the understanding of fractions. The curriculum for the game was designed as a wrap-around model allowing for students to go back to concepts with which they previously were having difficulty. Universal Design for Learning, which is a scientifically validated framework guiding inclusive instructional designs for all learners, was also an integral part of designing the game.
How does it matter to teacher preparation?
Game-based learning enables teachers the opportunity to engage students in a different method of instruction. Teachers can move around the room as students play the game and dive into the thoughtful and open discussion with individual students about what they are learning. Game-based learning also allows for the collection of data that would otherwise not be able to be obtained. The use of analytics allows the game to collect data about student engagement that would not otherwise be available. While the student is playing the game you can track how they are solving the problem, how many times they tried the same problem, if they were struggling or getting frustrated, or just speedily clicking through to the finish. Understanding the benefits of adding a different type of instruction model is paramount for our pre-service teachers and their ability to engage students in a manner other than what would be considered traditional teaching.
Continue our conversation!
What resources, tools, and strategies have you used to prepare your teacher candidates for integrating game-based learning in their future classroom? Join the CIDDL Community to further the conversation with the panelists and fellow teacher educators.