How to use educational games for classroom learning

February 22, 2022The Nearpod Team

Educational games in the classroom can transform traditional lesson plans into an engaging learning experience. In a classroom, games might be typically used during  independent work time, during indoor recess, and even to review for the next day’s test. However, they’re not often thought of as purposefully instructional activities. 

Technology provides teachers with the opportunity to make educational games into effective learning tools, not just time fillers. With tools like Nearpod, teachers can take advantage of a simple game, Time to Climb, and use it to enhance problem solving skills, promote collaboration, analytical thinking, and logical reasoning. In fact, Time to Climb’s newly released features will allow teachers to use the power of games to define and support learning in entirely new ways.

1. Consistent use of gamified learning increases student skills

In the classroom, an educator hopes to teach the math, reading, writing, or science skills a student will need to succeed in the world. However, students need more skill sets beyond academics. Students will need to have problem solving skills, collaboration skills, behavior management, responsibility, social skills and more to excel in the real world. These life skills get carried beyond the classroom into everyday life and can be used in nearly every setting.
When teachers bring gamification into the classroom, they provide students with the opportunity to practice these life skills as well as to see them in action from their peers. Whether students are narrowing down answer choices on a question, using logic to select the correct answer, or practicing decision making opportunities, they’re working on those 21st century skills.

In Nearpod’s Time to Climb, students compete to see who gets to the top of a mountain first by answering a series of questions both correctly and quickly to increase their own points to become one of the top three winners of the game. This gamified quiz helps increase memory and allows students to become responsible for their own learning, while developing social skills along the way. Teachers can set up Time to Climb with two new features including selecting multiple correct answers, in order to support even more problem-solving skills. With the ability to pause between questions, teachers also provide students the opportunity to reflect on their answers before moving on to the next question.

2. Create engaging learning experiences

Educational games in the classroom can bring high levels of engagement to students during the learning process. When students engage in a game, their motivation increases, leading to better participation and the ability to form connections and positive memories of learning. Student outcomes and achievement increases when students are engaged and motivated to learn. Time to Climb is built with an instructional design that keeps students engaged in any learning environment. Teachers can create a gamified quiz as a Student-Paced activity or launch one in the classroom for Live Participation.

 In order for the practice of academic skills to be meaningful to students, it needs to be engaging. Time to Climb is a classroom favorite for students as they select their own characters and compete to reach the top of the mountain with each question they answer correctly. The competitive nature and playful themes bring even more excitement and engagement to your classroom. The recently introduced themes available in Time to Climb include a beach, carnival, and sports adding to the existing underwater, space, mountain, and seasonal themes already included. These new themes will be available all year long, while our Valentine’s, Halloween, and Winter Holiday themes will continue to be accessible during these holiday time frames.

When played in a live classroom environment, students of all ages are laughing and enjoying the integrated community-building elements of their learning experience! As they play educational games to better their understanding of academic material, they are also understanding new concepts in the context of social relationships, a 21st century skill they will use both in and beyond the classroom.

3. Keep students on track with learning

Formative assessment as a daily practice in the classroom has many benefits including helping teachers better understand where their students are on the learning continuum, collecting feedback on how a lesson could be more effective, and knowing exactly what students may need for additional support in their learning. Time to Climb is an excellent way to assess students before, during, or after a lesson. With the ability to select multiple correct answers or use images as answers instead of text, teachers can customize a gamified quiz for their needs.

Time to Climb’s newest gamification features allow teachers to pause between questions and access new data as they teach. Now, when a Time to Climb question is live, the teacher can collect instant data on student understanding of the concept. If pausing between questions is turned on, the teacher will have an opportunity to reflect quickly on that data and address any misconceptions in real time during the game, which offers students opportunities to learn from their mistakes. Teachers can ensure that when a student gets a question incorrect, they have an opportunity to strategize and try again.

Gamified quizzes have always been a favorite for Nearpod teachers. Some teachers use them as a pre-assessment to get a deeper understanding of what students already know before introducing a new concept. Others use them as an engaging formative assessment in the middle of a lesson to reflect upon how they can support and address any student misconceptions before the lesson is finished. Additionally, teachers may also use them as final assessments, exit tickets, or opportunities to review key concepts. No matter how you assess, a gamified assessment like Time to Climb can help you transform quizzes into engaging instructional moments in the classroom.

Using educational games for learning is a great way to start small when bringing technology into the classroom and engage students in games that all students can easily understand, while interacting with their peers. Games are most effective when well-planned and integrated into learning objectives. With Time to Climb, you can include an existing Nearpod lesson or use it as a quick stand-alone activity. However, when you use Time to Climb, students will also learn many additional skills beyond the academic concept that the teacher originally intended to teach. They will also build 21st century social skills, problem solving skills, and build community all while learning core subject material.

Interested in reading more about this topic? Check out this blog post: 5 ways to create collaborative learning experiences in the classroom

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