For a long time games have been thought to be counterproductive and even damaging for the psyche of young children everywhere. When irresponsibly binged upon, instead of doing homework, of course games can be counterproductive (and not just for kids). When used smartly however, games can teach strong values, problem-solving skills and creativity (among many other benefits). We took a look at how games and gamification in education come together with the goal of making learning a much more engaging experience.
Save The Park
The brainchild of Games for Change and Shell Games, Save the Park is a mobile game in which you play the role of a nature loving hero which is in a constant race to protect America’s National Parks. You can play as one of 4 hero classes: Environment Champion, Wildlife Lover, Citizen Scientist or Culture Concierge, taking part in activities such as tree planting, counting squirrels, picking up litter, and many other outdoorsy nature activities.
The game was developed in order to promote volunteering opportunities currently available within nature parks around the USA. If you absolutely can’t physically take part in volunteering activities, there is another way you can help. For every person that downloads the game, American Express will donate $1 to the US National Park Foundation (up to $50,000). So go ahead and download the game (for free!), have a little fun and show some love by telling your friends about it.
Basically the place where educational games of all shapes and sizes come to hang out. Right off the bat you are welcomed by a suite of colorful buttons ranging from (Pre)Kindergarten to the 5th Grade. After you click on the level you think is appropriate, you are given the option to choose from 5 categories of educational games: Letters, Numbers, Holiday, Strategy and Skills. By selecting any one of these you are transported to a page where you can choose from an amazing library of games that are at your disposal. You can also try the ”Game of the Week” on the homepage, in case you just want to discover some new games. Not all the games offer the same depth when it comes to the complexity of their mechanisms or the same creativity when it comes to art style and animation, but a couple of them were really pleasant surprises. We really liked Robot Island and Animalines and were completely surprised by the depth of these games once you get past the first few levels. We definitely recommend checking at least a couple of them out (for educational purposes, of course), especially given the fact that this is a free resource.
Kahoot is a very interesting platform where you can create a personalised test for a large number of educational opportunities. It’s a user-friendly experience from which both teachers/trainers and students can benefit. There are 3 easy steps to delivering a truly interactive Kahoot experience:
- Create an engaging learning game by combining multiple-answer questions with images, videos and diagrams
- Play Kahoots in a classroom/group activity and encourage everyone to take part in the (very educational) fun
- After playing you should encourage your students/participants to create and share their own kahoots based on the same subject you have discussed together or on a completely different educational area
You can choose to create a quiz, a discussion or a survey, depending on what learning method best suits your educational goals. You can then basically personalize every aspect of your test, down to the time available for answering each question and the images/videos you use in order to create an integrated learning experience.
We are really enthusiastic to see so many interesting endeavours being developed to bring education to the next level. Hopefully, this kind of initiatives will not stop here and more and more people will continue supporting and creating them because they could very well be the future of learning as we know it.