Educators assess learning in a variety of ways including observation of behaviors/skill demonstration, artifact production, portfolio development, and testing. We establish grades, inform parents and students, and record grades in a permanent record. There is lively debate on assessment (particularly the bubble sheet, state-wide, multiple choice, high stakes tests) being used and whether or not these assessments are truly a measure of student achievement. Alternative means (portfolios, observations, artifacts, anecdotal records) are difficult to quantify and standardize, but seem a better indication of a student’s abilities and knowledge acquisition. Ultimately we need to consider the objective, is it to report on student levels or to inform instruction?
Game-based learning looks at making mistakes and achieving mastery in a different way. The making of mistakes and intermittent “failure” is built into the game to scaffold learning and contribute to eventual mastery. A player then analyzes, discusses, researches, and then gets a “redo” based n the information. The goal is mastery.
Game-based teaching has other attributes besides how games deal with mistakes, but it is the failure/mistake attribute that is particularly in conflict with traditional school methodology that rates and fails students rather than using mistakes to learn. If we believe that all children can learn, a more viable way to teach could be through the use of this particular game mechanic.
- Why Do Conservatives Love High-Stakes Testing? (dianeravitch.net)
- SBG – Standards Based Grading (mrvaudrey.wordpress.com)
- How Do We Measure What Really Counts In The Classroom? (fastcoexist.com)
- Gamify with Zeos (powertolearn.typepad.com)
- Curriculum and Pedagogy Matter and ‘Reformers’ Suck at Those Things: The Math Edition (mikethemadbiologist.com)
- Fear of Failing? Many Meanings of Difficulty in Video Games
True that outcomes are programmed but there are multiple ways of getting there. Have you participated in game play yourself? I invite you to come play with a group of educators in World of Warcraft. Virtual environments that are of a sandbox genre (Minecraft or Opensim locations) have a more open environment but you end up having to create a structure within which objectives can be met and outcomes measured. Each has specific features that are distinct and i would recommend the use of both.
Have to admit I’m on the fence with gaming. For sure I see the engagement piece, and the scaffolding benefits. One concern is that a gaming storyline, unless i’m wrong, while having many off-roads, has only one “correct” outcome. Perseverance and problems solving is needed to get to the end, for sure, but is it too linear to foster divergent thinking? I am very infested in the possibilities.