Before reading the article by Jordan Shapiro, I have always been hesitant on whether games should be involved in the classroom. However, Shapiro points out ways that digital games allow students to further engage with the curriculum and expand their creativity. I especially liked how Shapiro pointed out several websites where you can find games that teachers have used and implemented in their classrooms successfully.
I think Shapiro makes a good point that with choosing a video game, teachers need to first play with it and see if they enjoy using it themselves. We don’t want to just want to give students random games that are said to be fun and good for learning. We want to find meaning in what games we are using and have students bring them to broader contexts.
One game that I have seen in the classroom from substitute teaching is Prodigy. Teachers that have computers and iPads in the classroom often leave instructions to have students work on this for a period of about thirty minutes after other work is completed. In my experience, I have found that many students kept excitedly asking me “Can I play Prodigy now?” when they have finished their given work. They seem excited to play this game! When peeking over their shoulder, I did not see the educational value in it at first. All i noticed were that there were mystical characters and palaces, but did not see how this can be applied to the classroom. After reading this article, which gives a link to a website called Common Sense Education, I realized that this game not only aligns with the curriculum your student is learning, but also aligns with your student’s pace of learning. Not only does it enhance your students’ learning in mathematics, but it also gives teachers a report of how students are doing. There is a tab for teachers and parents that point out the benefits of using Prodigy (attached below).
This game seems to give each student a mythical creature which can become stronger, learn new spells, and such by answering math problems. The program gives math problems that are not too challenging, but fitting for the student given their previous records of answering questions. I feel as though this digital game could really make math, something students usually see as boring, as something fun and interesting! Before implementing this in your class, make sure you try out the game yourself to see if you think your students will enjoy and learn from it!