Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reading the New Media Consortium's 2010 Horizon Report, especially the chapter on game-based learning and how it is being applied in K12 schools.

You can actually read this report onine:

Educators today are in a situation where the "skill-building, turn-based games" are being used more and more to help children learn and have fun at the same time. The Horizon Report presents very clearly the reason such games are so successful: "Their engaging nature makes them excellent learning aids, as kids will often willingly play them much longer than they would otherwise study the material in question."

Maybe it's more than just "the engaging nature" of games - maybe it's really a joy of learning through doing, that thrills the students, similar to the action philosophy of martial arts training. You learn to kick by kicking, not by watching someone else kick or having someone explain to you how to kick.

Our QTalk developers are having so much fun developing our latest online games, moving away from Adobe Flash to a more standards-based approach, and also adding a teacher dashboard that will be available to those schools with the new "Universal License" subscription (something like a site licence). As the schools begin to implement iPad-based curriculum, we see the eBook products will have an especially powerful way to integrate with online learning games as well as online assessments (which are really just games, where getting the highest score is the objective of game play).

Teachers have told us they are absolutely amazed at what we are doing with our Online Games as well as our classroom games with Smartboard or magnetic flashcard delivery models. This month we have a special Valentine to present to all our teachers: it is our February 2012 "two for one" language games promotion.

Of course in the future the students will continue to expect more collaboration and sophistication in their learning games, as well as the ability to access their games as apps on their mobile phones, tablets, and who knows what electronic superstars are waiting in the wings to take our game-playing experiences to the next level?

We'd love to know: How are you using games in your teaching? Do you spend time to create your own games, or do you prefer to evaluate and purchase games that are "ready to go"? How is the availability of classroom technology affecting the way you use Online Games or multimedia digital games, for your specific teaching situation each year?