I used to be a nanny of 3 boys and one of them, Roman was attending primary school. I helped him sometimes with homework and part of it was to go to the school website and on it play games to practice maths and grammar. I have never seen this before, I have to confess I fell tempted to use his login and play myself having fun while practising my grammar which at that time was a little bit similar to the one of my 8-grade kid.
During my childhood the way I learnt at home was with my mum, she made the game, I have to do my maths and as a reward, I received a chocolate, ice cream a kiss and sometimes a big gift. Same happened with grammar. She used to take my notebooks and in a separate piece of paper she writes down my misspelling words, then I have to write down repeatedly to remember the correct way to do it. Internet wasn’t at everyone’s reach and I think the online game learning either.
When I came to New Zealand I realised my English level was the same as compared with intermedia kids, so I started to read kids books, and also I bought some computer games on sale to practice it. After my experience with Roman, this was my second experience in gaming as a learning tool. I really enjoyed it, and I felt how my brain was challenged to think quickly to achieve the goals on time and accumulate more points to get to the next level. Also, I can tell I have learnt from these games.
My 3rd experience gaming was in my Digital World class, In there I learnt a little bit about how the US government is designed and works while we play in teams a game called Branches of Power. It was a friendly game. I had fun during the practise exercise.
However, I am not a gaming person. I prefer another learning tools and despite educational games can teach you lots and help you learn in a faster and an enjoyable way I think is really easy to get addicted to and lost the purpose of them.
According to Sue MacDowall what makes learning through games so engaging, can be explained in 3 points:
1-Games provide a sense of autonomy and creativity: You can do missions, customise levels, customise the world and you can think about the future in the game.
2-Games provide challenge: Games required focus, concentration and hard thinking.
3-Games provide purpose: You are actually learning while having fun.
You can read more about it on her blog