If you have been using Blended Play content and enjoying the experience with your students, you might be thinking of other ways to incorporate the games in daily lessons. What about if your students were in charge of providing the content?
Student-created content, such as quizzes, is great way to make them reinvest what they have learned and confirm their understanding of the material through the development of the assessment. It allows them to reflect on what were the most important parts of the lessons and what they should remember. After that, they practice phrasing questions in ways that invites a clear answer on targeted content.
On the teacher side, student-created content allows teachers to see where their students are placing their focus and if they might need to review parts of the content or shift the emphasis of their lessons if they missed the mark on what should be retained from the instruction.
Susan Lynn, a teacher from Missouri with a clear interest (and talent!) for involving her students in the use of classroom technology explains to us how she was able to leverage the Blended Play games as a whole group content-creation activity.
I teach high school Spanish 1 and 2. I first heard about Blended Play from an education group on Facebook and thought it sounded fun. My kids love games, but they get tired of playing the same ones all the time. The Sushi game looked like a good place to start. I made a data file myself and played it with a small group of kids during study hall to figure out how it all worked. The strategy involved doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense until you actually play it with other people. They really enjoyed it and wanted to make their own games. My students sit in table groups of 4, so I had one student in each group make a free account. The others worked collaboratively on a Google doc to make their questions. Spanish 1 only did simple Spanish to English pairs for questions, but Spanish 2 created more detailed questions to answer. The student with the account copy/pasted the questions into the data file to get the game ready for the next day. Working together it took about 20 minutes for 3 kids to come up with at least 20 questions. I circulated around the room reading questions to check for accuracy, suggest improvements, and to answer questions about how the game worked. The next day the students played the Sushi game, which took about 15 minutes, then they tried the Viking game. Each group shared their data file with me and I was able to upload them to my Google site so they could play each other's games.
- Susan Lynn, Liberty North High School, Liberty, Missouri.
Do you use online content in innovative ways in your classroom? How do you get your students involved in the design process of games and activities?
Blended Play is looking for some collaborators for the Edtech blog. Do you have ideas and opinions that you would like to share with your peers? Are you rocking your classroom with some creative new ways to teach and would like to share? If so, send us an email at [email protected]
If you are a teacher who enjoys playing with all your students at once - chaos and loud noises included, this post should only confirm what you think about this type of game play. However, if you are a teacher who shies away from group play exactly because it is loud and something hard to manage, here are a few reasons to reconsider.
1. Group play reaches all students - in different ways
When playing as a big group, you might be wondering if all your students are really getting the best out of the experience. Obviously, the ones who are speaking the loudest and participating are easy to see as ‘’being engaged in the learning experience’’. But what about your more quiet students? If they are part of the group but are never volunteering to say the answers it’s easy to think that they are just off in their own world.
I would actually argue the opposite. While your loudest students are shouting the correct and incorrect answers, they are providing their more quiet classmates with some non-threatening review. While the quiet student is not providing the answer, they might have been thinking the same answer, and having someone else respond in their place still allows them to be part of the learning experience while not having to chime in each time.
For some students, having to answer out-loud is a very difficult experience and one wrong answer, can completely turn them off from wanting to participate at all. Having a group to rely on gives those students a quiet confidence while slowly building on their interpersonal skills… which brings us to point 2!
2. Group play builds confidence and empathy.
When a group of students is working together to provide an answer to a question or a classroom activity, they are hard at work on their interpersonal skills. The leaders of the group might be the ones most likely to take control of the exchanges but each student should be encouraged to participate in their own way.
As in the previous point, students who are more quiet, are more likely to exchange with 5-6 of their peers than with the whole group. Being able to discuss as a small team allows them to gather support for their ideas.
Finally, the saying you play as a team, you lose as a team is also very true for group play in the classroom. Once a decision has been made as a small group, students are more likely to stand-up for each other if they provide an incorrect answer. The teacher should do as much as possible to place emphasis on the ‘’group’’ so as to make each team member feel responsible for the outcome.
3. Group play fosters negotiation and decision making.
Negotiation and decision making is crucial in helping students boost their confidence in their knowledge. While they are figuring out their answer, students are negotiating with each other and ultimately deciding on the best course of action to take. In those instances, the stakes are again much lower than in a big group setting or in a 1-1 test taking instance. This allows students to take some risks and put their confidence in each other’s knowledge.
4. Group play creates classroom cohesion.
Finally, group play creates classroom cohesion as the teacher is offering students an opportunity for some friendly competition. Knowing that the teacher is willing to ‘’host a game’’ for the class - even if it’s some review in disguise, helps the student-teacher relationship. While it can be draining to have to moderate and keep control of excited students, they surely appreciate being able to try new games and activities.
A more positive relationship between students can be born out of group play as they learn to work together, win and lose together, and stick up for each other. In this optic, I would suggest to try to keep similar groups for an extended period of time (a month or so). This will allow students to learn to work together and to trust each other. From there, the game relationship will trickle down to other moments in the classroom when they are working with the same peers that they now know better because of their gaming teams.
What do you think about group play? What works and what doesn’t with your students? Are there any other advantages that you can think? Let us know in the comments!
Blended Play is looking for some collaborators for the Edtech blog. Do you have ideas and opinions that you would like to share with your peers? Are you rocking your classroom with some creative new ways to teach and would like to share? If so, send us an email at [email protected]lay.com.
Hi teachers and users of Blended Play!
As I hear more and more about innovative ways in which our games are used in the classroom and stories from awesome teachers from all over the world, I have decided to start a blog to share with all of you their great stories and resources.
Through this blog, I will share opinion posts by myself and other collaborators as well as resources that you can use in your classroom. You will sometimes see posts by owners of other blogs or websites which we feel are particularly relevant to our users.
I’m hoping to make this blog a place of collaboration, celebration of innovative teaching practices and a repository of cool content.
Do you have stories or ideas that you would like to see featured on this blog? How about a website which is helping you design your lessons each day? Perhaps you even have some polarizing views that you would like to discuss? If so, please send us an email at [email protected] and start writing!
Looking forward to exchanging on many different topics with all of you!