One of the most interesting trends to pop up in the classroom right now is gamification. Gamification uses the properties of gaming and games to engage and direct learners. Gamification can also be used for professional development as it helps set up a system that encourages personal growth.
I have heard a number of educators discuss the big difference between the time that students may put into a game that they do not put into their learning. There are certain qualities of a game that can keep someone engaged even if they are doing minimalistic tasks again and again, this is often referred to as farming. Someone may play the same level or task again and again to gain points but that same person may not try doing a practice activity in class again and again.
The goal is to not just play games in the classroom but to use the qualities of games to help engage students who would otherwise not be engaged. Engagement is key in learning. There are even games that are popular that can be used to help learn the content in the classrooms, you just have to look beyond the standard use of the game and think about how you can use that “tool” to increase the effectiveness of a learning activity.
Resources (more will be added over time)
- http://educade.org/ (website full of classroom examples and resources that can be filtered by subject, grade level, tool type)