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CLASSROM DIGITAL PEDAGOGY

Gamification & Game-Based Learning - Tools for Teachers (Part 2)

Introduction

We are going to continue our exploration of Gamification and Game-Based Learning (GBL) activities that you can use in the classroom. Our first article in this collection discussed 4 SMART Learning Suite GBL Activities (Fill in the Blanks, Game Show, Match Em Up & Monster Quiz) and how they can be used in the classroom. As there are currently a total of 11 activities in the SMART Learning Suite, we will explore the remaining 7 in this article and unpack how they can be used to engage students in assessment tasks but also provide teachers with powerful data that can inform your future directions for the learning in your classroom.

Game-Based Learning activities are highly engaging and entertaining for all ages, getting people actively engaging with each other, negotiating, planning, critically-thinking, analysing, and most of all strategizing, all very powerful learning skills. The added benefit of GBL activities in the classroom is that with the students engaged with the task and the learning, classroom management becomes a non-issue, with even the most challenging students disconnecting themselves from their regular behavioral patterns and focusing on the learning. With that in mind, I encourage all teachers, whether you have used GBL in the classroom before or not, to seriously consider incorporating GBL into the regular planning of your classes, because if done effectively, and with the right tools, you will not only see a huge improvement in the student’s engagement in your class, but you will also see improvement in the students learning outcomes. So, we will continue exploring the GBL tools available in the SMART Learning Suite with the intent to give you enough of an overview so that you can make the informed decision as to whether these tools are the right ones that will help you achieve the learning intentions that you are working towards.

Like the games that we discussed in the last article, these SMART GBL Activities can be accessed either at the SMART Board or on the student devices by connecting to your digital classroom through the hellosmart.com internet portal.

Game 5 - Flip Out

Flip Out is a great game for students to improve their recall, vocabulary, and one-to-one correspondence skills. This game allows students to see cards on the screen that can have words or pictures on them. They then identify associations to those terms/images and then click the card to reveal the answers. A fantastic tool for assessment revision, or for learning associations between symbols/images and names, or words between different languages, the use for the Flip Out game can be endless. As you can see in this example, I have created a game that students use to recognise the different symbols and notes used in music, designed so they can learn their correct names. The other added benefit is that it provides the students with an opportunity to self-reflect and assess their understanding and identify weaknesses that need future improvement.

The game wizard makes building this game quick and easy. Add images or text to each column, choose your theme and then publish the game – it’s that simple. You will have no problems building and delivering this game to the students in your class and you may even find that it becomes a staple resource to use for developing this element of your students’ learning.

Game 6 - Label Reveal

Much like Flip Out, Label Reveal is designed to help students with recall, memory, and deduction by having them name different parts of an image. Whereas Flip Out has images or text on a card that is turned over, Label Reveal has teachers identify different elements of an image that they want students to identify and then click on the areas to reveal those names. The added benefit is that not only does this game allow students to identify names, but teachers can also include short descriptions. Students engage with the task by clicking on the “?” to reveal the label. If a description has been added to the label a “+” will appear which can be revealed as a second stage to the action. Perfect for students who need to learn components of a whole and summarise what those elements do, this interactive recall game can induce student’s self-assessment and reflective actions which can foster positive growth.

If you have access to a digital image/photo you can easily upload it to the game and add labels and descriptions. Using the game building wizard, you can quickly and easily upload an image and then start adding in labels and their descriptions. You have a total of 10 labels that you can add to any image and you control where you place the descriptions by dragging them around the window – a fantastic tool to help with any content area at any year level.

Game 7 - Rank Order

Do you have a lesson where students are required to learn a sequence? Rank Order is a great game that allows students to develop skills in education, comparison, and sequencing. With a variety of different fun themes, students can use Rank Order to explore their learning around sequences in the coursework. The added bonus to this game is that you can trigger Metacognitive Strategies using feedback. The game building wizard gives you the opportunity to choose when in the gameplay students receive feedback. If they receive the feedback instantly, wrong answers will shoot out of the “answer zone” and back into the “option pool”. This action will have students thinking about why their choice was wrong and then using what they learn from that instant feedback to inform how they move forward with the learning task. However, if you choose to have the feedback shown at the end of the task, students can self-reflect upon the actions that they took while playing the game and then use that reflection to inform choices that they make when they make required adjustments to achieve the correct order. Either way, these Metacognitive Strategies can deepen the learning experience and help students evaluate the decision-making process they undertake when completing such a task.

Once again, the activity building wizard is a user-friendly tool that allows you to quickly add text or images in their correct order. Once this information has been input into the wizard, choose the point where students receive feedback (through the check answers section), choose the theme and you are good to go. Some themes, like the basketball theme will have animations that enhance the feedback when “instantly” is selected in the check answers section.

For example, when using the Basketball theme, when an answer is put in the correct location the shooter makes the basket, whereas when an incorrect answer is placed in the wrong location, the shooter misses the goal. This can be an effective way of softening a “blow” when students receive an incorrect answer, especially those who might need a little bit of support and nurturing when they are attempting assessments like this.

Game 8 - Memory Match

This fun game allows students to play solo or in pairs, and they are required to turn over cards to find matching pairs. The key difference is that you can personalise what are on the backs of each card for students to pair up. You can have students’ pair 2 of the same images, or pair an image with its name in text, or as you can see in the example I have provided, have students pair elements with the symbols that represent them on the periodic table.

A familiar activity building wizard for those who have used Match Em Up and Rank Order games, the wizard requires you to add text or images into a table and then match the correct answers up. There is no theme variation on this game, with the traditional animal cards being used, but it is a game that will surely get all students, regardless of their age-fighting to find all the pairs.

Game 9 & 10 - Speed Up, and Team Quiz

These two games are very similar, with just slight variations in the game play separating these two games. Like Game Show and Monster Quiz (that we covered in our last article), these two games are quiz-based tools that can be used as formative or summative assessment tasks in the classroom. The activity building wizard allows you to input true/false or multiple-choice answers with no limit as to how many you use. The major difference between these two games, other than their look is how they are played.

Speed Up has characters zooming around a track in a “car race” style game. Up to 4 people can play at a time and they have pods at the bottom of their screen that allows them to select the correct answer by pressing the A, B, C, D button as well as pressing the “zoom” button to give their character a power boost when driving between questions. The premise is that the person who answers correctly and the fastest gets more power boost for their character and crosses the finish line first.

A great game to play either at the board or on student devices, this game gets students focusing on the learning that has happened in the classroom, reflecting on their understanding, and making quick decisions. The interesting element of this game is the way in which feedback is issued.

If the students answer incorrectly their character ‘spins out’ which slows them down in the overall race. While there is no allocation for students to attempt the question again, like in other quiz-based games, it does provide a chance for reflection at the end of the game where the analysis of responses is provided. This is a great opportunity for teachers to unpack the process that students took when answering the questions.

Team Quiz is a game that is best played with student devices. Students are divided into groups and they work collaboratively to answer questions that colors in their team’s colored icon. The first team to successfully complete their colored icon, by answering all the questions correctly is awarded the win. The key benefit to this game is that students are working on their own devices to answer questions while being a part of a team.

The gameplay and the layout are pretty much the same as Monster Quiz, with the only difference being you are trying to color in your team icon instead of breaking your monster out of a crate/enclosure. 

Having said that, this is still a fantastic assessment tool that you can use for both formative and summative assessment tasks, and not only will it get students engaged in the assessment process, but it will also provide you with data that can be used for analysis for your future teaching.

Game 11 - Super Sport

The final game in our SMART GBL Activity collection is the Super Sort. A game that develops students’ understanding of classification, grouping, and logical thinking, this game sees students take elements (either text based or images) and sort them into groups. The interactive element of this game provides students with instant feedback that either reinforces their decisions or makes them think about the choice that they made and why it might be wrong. There are a variety of different themes to choose from which are all fun, with special mentions going out to the knight vs dragon and rock concert themes, but if I am honest, my favorite is the pirate theme – 2 ships firing cannons at each other, for correct answers, and cannons backfiring when the answers are incorrect.

Like Rank Order, Match Em Up, and Memory Match, the game builder is the familiar and user-friendly table-based tool where you can add images and/or pictures to the category table. This is then used to populate the answer options and provide feedback on correct and incorrect answers. A fantastic tool that students of all ages will find fun and engaging while providing them with valuable experience in applying their knowledge and feedback on how they are using it.

The 7 games that we have discussed in this article, coupled with the 4 we covered in the previous article can be accessed through the SMART Learning Suite Online platform as well as the SMART Notebook software. Students can engage either at the SMART Board at the front of the classroom or these games can be pushed to the student’s personal devices for personal or small group interaction. To explore these games, you can visit the link below and sign up for a free trial. Once your trial has expired, please reach out to us at the PAVE Academy or to our parent company Pro AV Solutions to explore how you and the teachers at your school can access a license for these games as well as the other amazing tools that are a part of the SMART Learning Suite platform.
In our next article, we will explore some other game-based tools that are not SMART related, that can be really powerful for your classroom. Stay tuned!

Questions that can drive your integration of Gamification and Game-Based Learning into the classroom and can spark professional discussions with your colleagues.

Q1

What am I doing in my current teaching practice that is the gamification of learning?

Q2

Can I use GBL tasks as formative assessment tools in my classroom?

Q3

How could I use one or all these 7 games in my classroom to increase student engagement and improve student learning outcomes?

Q4

How can I transform a current learning activity or project into a Game-Based Learning Task?

Q5

How can GBL help me plan and execute cross-curricular activities in my classroom?

References

SMART Learning Suite Online
SMART Technologies

Image References

Flip Out – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Label Reveal – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Rank Order – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Memory Match – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Speed Up – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities

Team Quiz – this image was taken as a screenshot from the display video within SLSO for the game

Super Sort – these images were created from PAVE Academy activities