The Game-Based Learning Starter Kit from Filament Games

By Guest Blogger and Game-Based Learning Expert Brandon Pittser

The world of game-based learning is complex, vast and varied. You could easily get overwhelmed by the many approaches that exist to this emergent teaching technique, and it’s tough to know where to start. To help you embark on your own game-based learning adventure, the team at Filament Games has assembled a few resources and insights that will aid your understanding of the “why, what, and how” of game-based learning. Read on to learn more!

Why games?

Games offer much, much more than engagement to a classroom experience; they offer students opportunities to explore agency, identity, and systems thinking from the comfort of their own classrooms. Even more importantly, games give students the ability to experiment, fail, and try again.

But where is the evidence that games work? Fortunately, there is a significant body of research showing that games bolster achievement outcomes and play a crucial role in developing 21st century skills. Check out the studies below for a round-up of research that proves the efficacy of game-based learning:

A-Games Study

How are games being used the in the classroom? The A-Games study evaluated how and why teachers are using digital learning games. Read our post to learn more about how digital learning games can be used for teaching and assessment.

Digital Games, Design, and Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

This meta-analysis by the Stanford Research Institute systemically reviews research on digital games and learning for K-12 students, serving as the broadest survey yet of how games can impact education.

Level Up Learning

This national survey on teaching with digital games was compiled by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and serves as a cross-section of the ways that teachers are using games in their classrooms today.

The Educator Perspective

Educator perspectives are an invaluable source for us to learn about the utility that games provide to the classroom. We went to visit several of our game-based learning partners to see what value they get from using games and the changes they’ve seen in their students.

Meet our friends Anne (Digital Learning Manager for Sun Prairie School District in Wisconsin), Michael (Director of Technology for Sun Prairie School District), and Dave (7th Grade Science Teacher at Spring Harbor Middle School) and hear how games have impacted their students’ lives.

What Games Should I Use?

Over the course of 10 years of making more than 100 educational games, we’ve developed some fairly strong opinions about what makes a great learning game — from mechanics, to learning objectives, to organization, we have a lot of specific ideas about best practices for learning game development.

In this video presented by our Chief Creative Officer Dan Norton, you’ll hear our distilled thoughts on what makes a great learning game, the practical steps we take during design and development, and the core strategies we employ to keep things on track.

How Do I Get Started?

Now that you’ve got some background on game-based learning, you’re probably wondering how games fit your own classroom and teaching style. We recently reached out to some of our game-based learning educator allies about this very question, and they had a lot to say! So much in fact that we’ve compiled their insights into a “How to Teach with Games” eBook. It’s packed with expert perspectives and practical advice, all of which is supplemented by recommended resources and downloadables to help you get started with game-based learning.

Featured educators include:

  • Conor O’Malley, Preservice Teacher studying at the University of Wisconsin — Whitewater
  • Miranda Salguero, Dual Language Immersion Teacher in the Madison Metropolitan School District
  • Dave Ropa, 7th Grade Science Teacher at Spring Harbor Environmental Magnet Middle School
  • Mary Headington & Chad Johll, Teachers in the Sun Prairie Area School District
  • Christine Marsh, Digital Learning Coordinator at The Field Museum
  • Tammie Schrader, Regional Science Coordinator in Educational Service District 101
  • Michele Huppert, Advanced Placement Physics Teacher at Nathan Hale High School

With all of this information in hand, you’re well on your way to becoming a game-based learning rockstar. As you explore and experiment with games in your classroom, be sure to check back here and let us know how it’s going!

As Marketing Director at Filament Games, Brandon applies his passion for games and learning to their content marketing practice and overall marketing strategy. He thrives on creating and sustaining a meaningful conversation with educators and developers about game-based learning, all while pursuing partnerships that will expand the reach and adoption of learning games. Aside from marketing direction and content generation, his role at Filament also includes customer service management, business development for both distribution and licensing, and hosting the occasional podcast.

From October 11th — 14th, Pinball Energy Challenge, our immersive learning experience app created in partnership with Filament Games, is FREE! Download the game now to learn about energy transformations and to enjoy the excitement of Game-Based Learning firsthand!

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