The Covid-19 Pandemic has allowed most schools here in the Philippines to shift to Distance Learning. For teachers, teaching distance learning is a challenge as they will have to double their efforts in lesson preparation and delivery.
Last year, we started offering distance learning in our school. One of the challenges we experienced was how to make lessons fun and engaging to our students. One thing we did is to incorporate games in the teaching and learning experiences.
More than Just Entertainment
According to studies, games are not just for entertainment but they also have educational value. Dickey (2005) in his study states that video games can be more than just entertainment: “Within the context of completing the assigned task, students play the role of explorer as they both discover concepts and connections and interact with the material and resources. Moreover, he also argued that “depending on the genre and individual games, players may be required to analyze, synthesize, and use critical thinking skills in order to play and execute moves”.
Additionally, playing online games in the classroom in these complex times can also be effective tools in distance learning as they help ease away stressors of the pandemic. Games provide a place for connection, expression, familiarity and creativity among students while they are meeting virtually. It is through games that students and teachers are also able to connect with each other.
The Role of the Teacher
In my school, we usually try to incorporate at least one game a day into one of the key learning areas. Games are used as either for motivation, an assessment or a teaching tool. We see to it that we are able to create activities that allow our students to engage in meaningful experiences. As the saying goes, “Teachers that connect meaningfully to students can make the biggest difference in their lives“. Providing fun learning experiences through games will surely create a positive impact in the lives of our learners.
Moreover, a teacher should also be able to capitalize teachable moments during play in order to foster productive distance learning. Connecting with students through games should also be a goal.
Furthermore, teachers should also be able to learn to be creative particularly in choosing the right games to be used in class. They should also be able to integrate the games in the real online classroom scene. This means that students do not only play for the sake of entertainment, but they are able to achieve a specific learning goal.
Practice Games for Kids
As a teacher, I usually use games for drills and practice. Most of the time, I search the internet for interactive games that I can use for my students to have mastery of our math lessons. Just recently, I discovered an Alien Vs Math Arithmetic Operations Practice Exam Game from plays.org. This is an arithmetic practice game for students to master the basic arithmetic operations. You can either choose which type of game you would like to play: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or mixed.
I tried playing multiplication games. It is very easy to navigate, it has nice graphics which can be very appealing for young learners. Added to that, the sound effects in the game makes it even more exciting, especially when the alien collects all the correct answers. There is also a voice that will prompt if your answer is correct or wrong. This is just one of the games that I tried but there are other games like Mr. Bean Splash Art Game: Draw Color & Paint Scenes which can be very useful if you want to teach colors to young students. I also like the Bible Quiz Trivia Games for kids which I find useful for our Bible Quiz in school. I won’t have a hard time formulating questions as it already provides 100 sets of multiple choice questions. How awesome is that!
You too can browse the games and find one that suits your needs for distance learning. All games are for FREE, so you can let your students play anytime.