Video Games Like Mario Kart and World of Warcraft Could Be Making Their Way Into Classrooms, writes Georgia Perry in The Atlantic.
GlassLab, a joint effort by Electronic Arts and the Educational Testing Service (the SAT people) pairs commercial and educational game designers to create games kids will want to play. Use Your Brainz is based on the popular Plants vs. Zombies. It adds a tracker to assess players’ problem-solving skills.
Games are great at assessment, says Richard Culatta, the director of the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology.
They assess their players constantly—that’s how they determine when a player is ready to move to the next level. Similarly, feedback is provided instantly in games; unlike having to wait a week for a grade on an assignment, students playing a game can, say, look at the top of the screen and see a bunch of cartoon hearts letting them know how many lives they have left.
Another major challenge facing American education, according to Culatta, involves “[holding] students—almost like a surfboard—right on the wave of their ability.” In other words, schools often struggle to give them tasks that they are capable of doing but for which they also need to work and stay vigilant.
Games do this expertly.
The DOE, the National Science Foundation and foundations such as Gates and MacArthur are spending “upwards of $100 million to promote educational gaming,” writes Greg Toppo in The Game Believes In You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.
Nearly three-quarters of K-8 teachers use digital games as a teaching tool, according to a 2014 study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.
How does a teacher figure out which education apps are worth trying? asks Kaycie Gillette-Mallard on EdCentral. Putting the Education in “Educational” Apps has advice on how to evaluate apps.