A new school year is about to start here in Italy and I am ready with a new project. If you have been following this blog, you would know by now that I am really into games. Thus, my new workshop for secondary school students is a special Escape Room, which is a 60-minute real-life adventure game. When I played this game for the first time with a group of friends I immediately thought it was great for my students because
- it involves the use of the four linguistic skills,
- it promotes peer-learning,
- it entails different teaching methods and approaches which suit different types of students.
I have decided to write a series of blogposts about my new workshop which analyse the different parts of it. Today I will start with the reasons why I use games in my workshops for students and teachers.
Kapp describes gamification as ‘the careful and considered application of game thinking to solving problems and encouraging learning using all the elements of games that are appropriate’ (Kapp, 2012, p.12). We can infer, thus, 'gamification' is an integration of game elements and game thinking in activities that are not games. In particular, games have some distinctive features which play a key role in gamification:
- users (students) are all participants,
- challenges/tasks that users perform and progress towards defined objectives ('levelling up' raises interesting questions for educators - not least the fact that players are allowed to tackle challenges and tests like exams as many times as necessary - and with no lasting consequences - in order to progress from one level to another),
- points that are accumulated as a result of executing tasks,
- levels which users pass depending on the point.
Why 'game-based' learning?
Unlike 'gamification', which adds game-inspired elements to your teaching practice (e.g. points), 'game-based' learning entails the use of games to meet learning outcomes. It is through the game that students learn. Moreover, playing games is intrinsically motivating because by and large it’s a voluntary activity. Games encourage independent inquiry and exploration; interests and passions can branch off from the individual game. Finally, a consensual and transparent adherence to a fictional setting or role allows players to experiment with skills and identities without suffering the consequences of failure in real life.
In my next post I'll be writing about what traditional Escape Rooms are. Stay tuned!
For further information about the 'Escape EFL Classroom'
workshop email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bye for now,