Students are playing to learn
Lynette Barr’s students know the value of playing to learn.
The Victorian teacher is one of a growing number of teachers who are using ICT games to bolster students’ learning.
A teacher for six years, the 30-year-old teaches grade six at Pentland Primary School in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, where her classes use Nintendo Wii, PlayStation2, Flip Cameras, iPod Touches, Nintendo DS and online games in the learning areas of literacy and numeracy.
Lynette said her students have embraced gaming and the move has led to more collaboration, with students working in groups and interacting with each other over message boards.
“(I love) the enthusiasm of the students and how much they learn from it, the fact that it surprises them every day that they are learning so much from games,” she said.
“The enthusiasm is amazing – it’s so rewarding.”
Lynette was recently recognised for her game-based learning techniques.
Last year she was awarded the Victorian Teachers Credit Union (VTCU) award for outstanding primary teacher at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Excellence Awards.
As part of the award, Lynette travelled to the United Kingdom earlier this year to attend conferences, such as Learning without Frontiers and BETT, and visited various schools to further explore game-based learning.
But Lynette discovered Australia was actually leading the way when it came to learning through games in the classroom.
“I travelled half way around the world and saw things I have already seen and done,” she said.
“I thought, gee this isn’t a bad thing; it’s good to discover we are leaders in this area.”
Lynette uses a wide range of games including Lure of the Labyrinth for maths and Super Scribblenauts on Nintendo DS for literacy, and she said the best way for teachers to choose games to suit their students was to simply play them.
“Play them – that’s what I did,” she said.
“I played them and I found out what skills I was using as I played, what problem solving I needed to implement and things like that.”
Lynette said she now wanted to move into game design and creation.
“I would love to get students designing and producing games themselves,” she said.
“There’s so much learning in that process and team work.”
Read Lynette’s blog on game-based learning here.