When we were kids we used to play outside for hours. I was talking to a colleague the other day about how we used to shovel the driveway and play basketball well after dark, so much so that my dad installed a floodlight to illuminate our court. We played what we called night games, kick the can, flashlight tag, hide and seek. We rounded up the neighborhood kids to play baseball and football in our designated yards, there were some that were better for baseball and others for football. We would have Tecmo Bowl tournaments in the neighbor’s basement for hours on rainy days, and yes even sunny days.
Growing up we played, had fun and enjoyed the sweet satisfaction of victory and the bragging rights that came with winning, and learned to deal with the disappointment of losing. Games taught me many life lessons and I continue to see their value in education. I am a huge fan of the work of Michael Matera and his book Explore Like A Pirate. I work with a colleague Jon Spike who is a proponent of using games in the classroom and helped me implement my first BreakoutEdu. Reuben Hoffman shared his version of Monopoly to help students understand stratification in society that I used in my sociology class. I created a baseball review game on my smartboard with moving baserunners and a scoreboard based on a review game I learned from Tim Cannon in a class I took in my 2nd year of teaching.
Education should be FUN! Yes education should be fun, engaging and interesting for students. If we can leverage games to create a fun learning environment. Let’s explore games!