I was the discussion director for Week Ten of EDU 720, facilitating a discussion on fanfiction and gaming. As I prepared for this role I tried to think of activities and discussion questions that would connect the readings for the week with practical applications for the classroom. I also wanted to introduce new technology tools to my colleagues. I chose to be discussion director for this topic not because I am a gamer, but because I tend to have an aversion to video games. I wanted to learn more about what the research said concerning the use of video games in the classroom.
I decided to have each participant play the game Cube Slam and reflect on their experience on a Padlet page. I was pleased with the honest reflections my colleagues wrote after playing the game. Some were hooked on the game, while others seemed bored with it. This leads me to believe that students would have the same reactions to using video games in the classroom. There may be advantages to using them, but they are not likely to work for every student.
My colleagues were also asked to reflect on the importance of video games in the classroom in a Google Doc. Again, they did not disappoint. Most could see some value to using video games with students and some have already used them. One colleague created a GoAnimate video which expertly summed up the readings in an entertaining 30-second clip. The readings gave us all new ideas to consider and we all came away with a clearer understanding of what makes them work. I think we all agree that video games have captured students’ interest and has turned many into self-directed learners. Our job is to capture the secrets of video games (outlined in the research) for use in our classrooms.