Educational games are one way to create a fun learning environment for students which encourages them to interact and learn more. Such games have certain characteristics that are similar to that of any good lesson plan. They are based on achieving certain objectives, they give the students certain motivation, and they always result in an assessment of some sort.
The most common games used by teachers in the learning process are:
- Card games
- Board games
- Role-playing games
- Trivia games
- Relay races
- Quiz ‘bowls’
Schools that use games as part of the educational process have seen some advantages including being able to foster cooperative competition among students. The score keeping aspect and winning conditions motivate all the students who participate and also provide a good opportunity to assess their performance. At the same time, it makes them cooperate with each other despite the competition. It could be the good fundament for being cool essay writer.
Educational games have also been an avenue for students to gain intrinsic motivation. As opposed to simply doing something because they were instructed to do so, participating in a game gives a student a worthy challenge, which when coupled with the curiosity, fantasy and control serves as motivation. While playing games, students have motivation from within themselves.
Finally, unlike other educative tools which offer later rewards, games offer immediate rewards. Students can win and receive point as well as feedback immediately the game is finished. For some students, this may feel more real than expecting a reward in the future for present academic performance.
At the same time, some teachers are reluctant to use games as an educative tool. This is because:
- They may not be able to choose an appropriate game for the whole class
- They are not sure how students will handle the competitive aspect of the game
- There may be students with learning disabilities who cannot participate
- There could be a common trend of the same students winning each time
- Students may fear public humiliation and do not want to participate
- In games that involve timing, students may rush to finish as opposed to taking the time to understand the game.
To make games more useful as instructional tools, some considerations need to be made by any teacher who is willing to adopt this method.
They should focus on learning as opposed to winning to ensure the student is educated and not just entertained. The teacher, therefore, has to make sure that learning something earns the competitors a few points. In addition to this, teams should be assigned on a random basis each time to avoid bias and prevent incidents of cheating. Where students may not be able to handle competition, the teacher should have them compete not against each other but a given standard. Finally, to avoid cases where a student is embarrassed the teacher should announce only the high scores without emphasizing on the ones that failed.
In this way, games can be not only a source of fun but also a learning experience.