Computer/video games have no place in education. Or do they?
For the past year students in my upper school lessons have been using the Zondle service to support their learning.
What is Zondle?
Zondle can be summarised as a web-based platform that allows students to learn/check their understanding through playing games. Zondle engages my students really well and the fantastic mobile app means many of my students can use the service whilst commuting or sitting in front of the TV. It takes learning out of the classroom into a fun addictive portable format.
Zondle works by allowing teachers to create question sets which are then transformed into an interactive activity. When students log on they are able to see what topic(s) they have been set and are then presented with a vast range of games which incorporate the question set. Activities available include the very popular penalty shoot-out egg catching in battery chickens through to pizza baking.
Gameplay tends be addictive as the system makes good use of gamification techniques such as collecting Zollars. Students can also see the progress of their classmates which motivates them further to be the best.
As a teacher I am able to access an automatically created mark book which enables me to monitor progress of students and identify areas for intervention. I am also able to add some challenge into activities by declaring my high score on different games – this seems to really motivate them to beat me. Of course in the process of playing the games they have to answer questions correctly and are therefore re-enforcing what they have learnt and hopefully developing their memory of the concepts.
Developing Zondle further
At the end of the Autumn term, one of my classes was set the task to create multiple choice questions for Zondle. There were some teething problems at the time but I would like to do this again. In allowing students themselves to author the questions, they are able to demonstrate higher order thinking along Bloom’s taxonomy whilst also being given a platform to share their work across the Zondle community.
Images of Zondle in action
Example games to try:
I am convinced that there is a place for games in education and as a result, over the next 2 terms students in my upper school lessons will benefit from:
- Lessons making use of Zondle Team Play (Whole class learning based on neuroscience)
- Trial run MinecraftEdu to further assess the usefulness of game based learning for our students.
- Audit the access our students have to internet connected devices using the YOTS service in order to best inform how we can best support their needs