Calling All Teachers - Gamify Your 2021 Curriculum
On our podcast, The Multipurpose Room, K-12 Clothing, had the honor of hosting Mr. Michael Daniels in a recent episode. Mr. Daniels is known for being a creative expert in the gaming industry. He has a collection of 132 board games and has developed a successful online gaming empire since 2015. The games have become increasingly popular since the rise of COVID. Mr. Daniels some ideas for turning some of your school's events and/or some of your classroom learning into a game.
The ongoing pandemic has severely taken a toll on physical meetings of all sorts, which has led to fewer physical game nights and given rise to the world of online gaming as people continue to shift to a virtual lifestyle. Most of these games are being conducted using software and applications accessible to people worldwide, such as Zoom, Google Meet, YouTube, Facebook, etc. Several fun games are available, and the rules are relatively simple. The various categories range from educational to competitive to trivia and picture-based games. These games are designed to target all age groups, and everyone is welcome to play along with the host.
A few of the most popular games are plays on famous games - Friendly Feud (instead of Family Feud), Password, Hollywood Circles, and Pictionary. The most recent game, Scattergories, has developed a new feature that involves the audience as part of the game. This feature has created so much engagement from people who love actively being a part of game shows. The games that allow audience participation have become the most popular because they encourage a more comprehensive competition than just the contestants and give the audience a much more significant role than just watching someone else play.
Furthermore, technology has made it easy to craft these online games successfully smoothly. The use of spreadsheets and software such as OBS has markedly helped to execute these games for online viewers steadily. They are used to display scores and correct answers. Google slides have been recognized as an excellent collaborative tool to present the questions or answers for a trivia quiz or pictures in games like Pictionary. Some of these games are customizable to suit a particular group of people, for example, a classroom full of students can have questions according to their subjects, and games for a company can have questions related to their industry or work field, and so on.
These games can become a new source of knowledge for school-going children. There are games such as Hollywood Circles that can be customized to suit students. The questions can be divided into categories based on social studies, mathematics or science, and their teachers or parents can supervise the students. Another game, Friendly Feud, could be played between two teams with contestants from two classrooms and the teacher could play a recording of their game for the entire school to enjoy and learn. These games' inclusiveness has rendered them extremely popular amongst the gaming society, and classroom editions of these can lead to a healthy engagement opportunity for students, teachers, and parents if they are introduced as part of the school curriculum. The online games can be tried and tested by starting with a single classroom and moving on to involve the others as everyone gets more comfortable with its technicalities. These games can help teachers encourage students to participate in online projects and be more cooperative during online classes.
Once the students become accustomed to these games and their positive impact has been assessed, they can be introduced as part of physical activities when schools reopen. The games could be part of their weekly schedule and could be both physical and virtual. They can be associated with small prizes awarded to each contestant or team with the right answers or wins along the way instead of just one grand prize at the end. Small awards will help keep them attentive and focused right till the end, and the positive reinforcement will enable them to compete harder and consequently learn more.
While the new normal is still not clear, there's no harm in designing a plan that could benefit students, teachers, parents, and their entire community. Set a well-defined goal for the activities and design the plan according to what you wish to achieve. Make sure to have fun along the way and remember to encourage healthy competition. With the right tools, it can prove to be a great learning opportunity for the entire community.