Choosing game-based tools for learning, assessment and family fun
It has been a challenging few weeks for educators as we make the shift to remote instruction and try to find the right balance and leverage the right tools to meet our students’ needs.
There are many resources out there—from learning communities on Facebook that formed to support educators during school closures to the #remotelearning hashtag on Twitter and the ISTE community. Educational organizations and ed-tech companies have also come together to offer their resources and support to educators, students and families.
When considering the ed-tech options available, I recommend looking for tools that can be used not only for educational purposes, but also for family fun and learning.
For years, I have recommended that students and educators take advantage of these tools during holidays or vacations or at any time. A few years ago, for instance, a group of my students played Quizlet Live! on a bus ride, and there have been times when I have launched games for students to play when I have been out of the classroom.
Leveraging games for online learning
As we try to find activities to keep students engaged and to provide different learning opportunities, we can leverage game-based learning tools to provide us with a means to assess students as well. During my class meetings, thanks to technology, I can play a game with students and provide feedback during instruction. And educators can use these options for asynchronous learning experiences as well.
During my class meetings, thanks to technology, I can play a game with students and provide feedback during instruction. And we can use these options for asynchronous learning experiences as well.
Using digital tools for game-based learning enables students to select activities that meet their specific needs and interests while giving educators access to data to adjust lessons accordingly. These tools are also great options for families looking for different activities to pass the time together. Here are five options:
- Gimkit: This option provides games or “kits” to get started. It is easy to create a game by searching the question bank, uploading your own terms, or importing flashcards from another site. My students have enjoyed playing Gimkit for years, and they were really excited to be able to play last week. Gimkit does not require any screens to project questions, as each question appears on student devices.
- Kahoot!: A favorite of educators and students, Kahoot! is now offering free access to Premium Kahoot! There are thousands of games in the library covering a variety of topics for different grade levels. It is easy to share self-paced Kahoots with students for remote learning, and students can challenge family and friends to a game and use Zoom or another similar platform to play the game together.
Quizizz: My students also enjoy playing Quizizz because they can move at their own pace throughout the live game or come back to finish a game that has been assigned for homework. Teachers can create a collection of games to share with classes so students can choose a game for solo practice. Data is saved within the Quizizz reports. And Quizizz is another fun option for a family game night.
- Quizlet: More than just a study tool for students, Quizlet has added more activities and ways for students to build their skills in any subject. It is easy to find sets of flashcards to use right away and share with students once they join your Quizlet class. Quizlet Live! does not require a projector, and it is a great option for students to play games on teams.
- Educandy: This is a fun website that I discovered recently. Educandy offers eight options for creating activities to help students develop vocabulary skills and more. There are anagrams, multiple-choice questions, word searches and additional game options. There are even a few example games to try out before making your own. Simply share the code with students for them to play the game at their own pace.
There are many game options available, and they don’t always involve technology. However, during this period of online learning, having multiple digital options to try can help teachers to better understand how students are progressing in their learning and to share with families at home.
Rachelle Dene Poth is a foreign language and STEAM teacher at Riverview Junior/Senior High in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. She is a featured speaker for FETC®.
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