The Importance Of Games In The Classroom?

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Using games in the classroom is a hot button topic for many teachers. There are teachers who will stand up and proudly say they use games in their classes for various reasons, and there are those that vehemently oppose them, stating they are a waste of time and effort. We first need to decide on what gaming is. “Gaming refers to an interactive process with educational value that is a part of the teaching and learning environment. Games should add new value to the teaching and learning process, lead directly or indirectly to academic achievement, and have the potential to contribute measurable progress in reaching teaching and learning goals” (Burr, 2014). In other words, gaming could be seen as getting students motivated to want to learn. This can be done using a variety of methods. If this is the case, how can we possibly refuse to play games in school?
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“The logic of including gaming in the teaching and learning process is that it offers something positive, special, new, and interactive to academic achievement” (Burr, 2014). There have been many studies illustrating this fact. A few researchers from the University of Maryland set out to quantify the effect of board games. They used children from the Pittsburgh area and had them play a game called The Great Race. This game required students to spin a spinner and move their piece along a board marked with 10 steps. Those who played that basic game showed significant gains in four different measures of their number sense, based on tests designed by the two researchers. Those gains remained just as strong when the preschoolers were tested nine weeks later, after their last game-playing session (Cavanagh, 2008). The National Research Council’s important report on games and simulations for science learning found that simulations were a very effective tool in promoting academic knowledge and inquiry skills (Levine,
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