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Suite 1: Game Based Learning

Word Search

Course Code: ODSG12

LENGTH: 30 mins


  • 2.2 – Content selection and organisation
  • 2.6 – Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • 3.4 – Select and use resources
  • 4.1 – Support student participation

Divided into 3 parts, this session is designed to give you:

1. an overview of the theoretical concepts behind Gamification in education and provide an explanation around the reasoning behind this movement in the education sector

2. guidance and support to build your own game in the SMART Learning Suite and then explore how teachers can share this learning event into their classrooms. 

3. the opportunity to apply your knowledge and share that with other teachers in the PAVE Academy Network. 


The newest edition to the SMART Learning Suite platform. ‘Word Search’ is a digital representation of the popular traditional word based searching game. Designed to develop a students skill with vocabulary, this game also helps in the development of key reading skills like scanning, decoding and fluency for recognising and spelling new words. With a variety of different themes available, and using the familiar SMART game building wizard, you can quickly and easily build and roll out a word search game directly to the students devices. 

  • An introduction to the concept
  • Expanding your understanding
  • Knowledge Check
  • Building this Game in SMART Learning Suite
  • Using this Game in your classroom
  • Knowledge Check
  • Exploration
  • Course completion
  • Getting your certificate

Let's begin

Part 1: Theoretical Background


Gamification in education is about increasing student engagement and learning by including game-like elements in learning.

Good games actively engage the user through the application of knowledge and skills like problem solving, experimentation, exploration and rethinking the objective and approaches to implementation of learning to achieve goals.

If you look at games throughout history, regardless of whether they are digital games like Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, Halo or Need for Speed, to board games like Monopoly or Pandemic, they are goal or progression based, have clearly defined rules and are more often then not based around a story or story elements. 

These elements, accompanied by instant feedback, can create a highly engaging environment for student that can enhance their focus and motivation as well as providing them with a sense of freedom to apply their learning, to try, fail and explore. 

To create effective games, designers use tools, often called “Game Mechanics” to create an actively engaging game and these game mechanics are now starting to be leveraged in Games Based Learning activities for students learning in the classroom. 

Lets now take a look at the 5 key game mechanics and explore how they are being used to help student learning.

With studies showing that we are spending on average 7 hours and 7 minutes a week gaming, and with the benefits outweighing the limitations, the gamification movement is looking at how we can leverage this into education.


Each game that we explore in this suite of on demand courses will link to different pedagogical approaches, and we have presented them as 3 pillars. Each pillar below will provide you with a brief overview of how it relates to the game we are discussing as well as providing you with further reading on the concept to assist you with your continued development and understanding. 


When kids grow up and face real world problems, they need to apply logic to ensure they can solve them effectively. Teaching these skills in class, through using tools like Word Search allows students to apply logical thinking to learning activities, in turn preparing them for situations in their future.


This highly interactive and engaging game, creates a learning experience that captures the students attention, sparks their a sense of interest and focuses their attention on key terms and elements being covered in the class.


If you look at words on their own, we learn spelling through the concept of a sequence of letters grouped together. Word Search at its very core a sequencing activity, having students focus on the sequence of letters that combine to make words they are searching for.   tasks that require the steps in a specific order.

If you would like to read more about the 3 pillars we have supplied links to resources below to help expand your understanding and knowledge. 

Supporting Documentation & Articles

What are Formative Assessments & why should we us them?
By: Judith Dodge

Supporting Documentation & Articles

How to raise logical thinkers
and why it matters
By: MathGeek Mama

Supporting Documentation & Articles

How to teach sequencing skills
to children

By: Speech & Language Kids

In this video “How video games can save schools” by Inquerty, we will be exploring the idea that there are some major problems with standardized education, problems that we can solve with video games. This vide will discuss some problems that can make it difficult for some students to learn and how video games can help to educate people in a more efficient and fun way, taking ideas and concepts that video games do so well, and inserting that into our standardized education.

Click on the image to the right to watch the video. 

Video Length: 15.06min


Below you will find 5 True/False question cards. 

Designed to review the content that was covered in Part 1 of this course, you need to reflect on the learning that we have covered thus far, answer the question in your mind and then click on the card to flip it over to see the correct answer.

While this assessment task does not affect your ability to pass this course, it is designed as a formative self-assessment task to allow you to reflect on your understanding from Part 1 of the course. 

Gamification in education is about increasing student engagement and learning by using game like elements in learning?


Studies have shown that gamification has proven to increase student engagement in the classroom by incorporating game-like elements into the learning. This links to students enjoyment of games and increases activates their interaction in the learning that is occurring in the classroom.

Effective games use 6 tools, called "Game Mechanics" to actively engage players in the content, impacting how students experience learning


There are 5 key game mechanics that we explored in this course:
1. Conflict
2. Strategy/Chance
3. Aesthetics
4. Theme/Story
5. Reward

Gamification can offer students instant feedback on the application of their learning which can be used to assist their development


Gamification does provide students with instant feedback, triggering metacognitive strategies which can impact not only their future movement forward in the game but can help to understand the ways in which they are applying the learning.

Good games engage users through the application of problem solving, experimentation, exploration and rethinking the objective.


Good games actively engage the user through the application of knowledge and skills like problem solving, experimentation, exploration and rethinking the objective and approaches to implementation of learning to achieve goals.

Gamification limits students curiosity and hinders experimentation while developing a students fear of failure.


The national stem education resources toolkit outlines that a key benefit to the use of gamification in education is that games support student curiosity and experimentation while also supporting their understanding and acceptance towards failure as a step in the learning process.

Part 2: How To Guide

In this part, we will provide you with video guides that will walk you through two key aspects of using this Game-Based Learning tool in your classroom:

Part A: Building the Game

Part B: Using the Game

But before we begin it is worth noting that while the demonstration videos may focus on either the SMART Notebook software or SMART Learning Suite Online platform, the process for engaging these games in your classroom are the same… the only difference between the two is the access points to the games themselves. 

Part A: Building the Game

This video from SMART Technologies will show you a step by step guide on how to build your Fill in the Blanks game in SMART Notebook.


Below you will find a series of statements that relate directly to the information that was covered in PART 2 of this course.

Click on the blue icon under the Tick/Cross if you think the statement is correct or incorrect to see if you are in fact, on the money!

Question 1:

This game can only be accessed from the SMART Learning Suite Online platform?

Question 2:

Students can access and play this game on their devices through the portal.

Question 3:

Once you have built your game you cannot go back and edit the text or blanks that you have entered.

Question 4:

There are a variety of different themes available for you to choose from to personalise your game.

Part 3: What's Next?

Now that you have developed an understanding of some elements behind Game-Based Learning in the classroom, and you have seen how to build this game using the SMART Learning Suite software, you are ready to complete the final 3 steps in the course: 

Click on each box to find out more.

Step 1


Log into your SMART Learning Suite Online or use
SMART Notebook to build your own game.


You can either re-watch the Part A: Build the Game video in the "How To Guides" in Part 2 of this course, or if you are a partner school with Pro AV Solutions, you can reach out to one of the PAVE Academy staff who can arrange a free coaching session.

Step 2


Have your students connect to your digital classroom through the portal to unleash the fun!


You can either re-watch the Part B: Use the Game video in the "How To Guides" in Part 2 of this course, or if you are a partner school with Pro AV Solutions, you can reach out to one of the PAVE Academy staff who can arrange a free coaching session.

Step 3


Share your SMART Notebook file or SMART Learning Suite Online lesson with other teachers in the PAVE Community.


SMART Notebook:

Locate the file on your computer and attach that to an email

SMART Learning Suite Online:

Click on the "3 dots" icon on your game in the SLSO dashboard and select the Share Link option. Follow the prompts to access the Get Teacher Share Link and then paste this URL into an email


Congratulations! You are a step away of getting your PAVE Academy certificate.  Simply click the link below – you will be redirected to a certificate application form for you to complete. This form will also ask you to provide feedback on the course so that we can work to offer the most valuable PD sessions for teachers that we can. 

The certificate you will receive will show the course title, description, length and AITSL standards covered so that it can be used as evidence for your annual teacher registrations. Please ensure that you save them in a safe space on your device but if you misplace it, please get in contact via the Contact Us page and we will assist with acquiring a new one. 


Badges are essential gamification elements that symbolize achievements completed by learners, and the PAVE Academy want to celebrate your completion of this course, and recognise your efforts with this exclusive PAVE Academy GBL Badge. There is a new badge for each GBL course you complete so collect them all to become a Recognised PAVE Academy Game Based Learning (GBL) Educator.

Attach your brand new badge as a signature on your email and share it on your social medial channels to let all you peers know the learning you have obtained. This can open professional conversations between yourself and your colleagues around your use of technology in your teaching and can encourage them to approach you for advice and guidance to help them improve their professional practice. 

You have now completed this on demand course

We hope that you have enjoyed this course and were able to get some valuable tools and knowledge that you can use in your teaching.

If you need any assistance with your schools Education Technology or have any questions regarding this training session please contact us and we will assist you with all your needs. 

And finally, our big 5 reminders:
          1.  fill out the form to get your certificate and then keep an eye out for your certificate in your email inbox
          2. download your badge, attach it to your email signature and share it on your social media platforms
          3. revisit this course as many times as you need, so if you feel you need a refresher on the content we covered this resource is always available for you here.
          4. follow the PAVE Academy on Facebook, LinkdIn, Twitter and Instagram
          5. engage with the PAVE Academy Network