Game-based learning professional development invites teachers to try out games in a safe and supported environment, learn about game-based pedagogy, and have some fun with colleagues from across the district. We’ve compiled a list of the top five reasons you should pick game-based learning as your educator’s next professional development day.
1. Try game-based learning before a full school or district implementation. We’ve mentioned before that there are a variety of ways to implement a school or district-wide game-based learning program, and we know there’s a lot to think about before you get the ball rolling. Learning alongside fellow teachers and a team of implementation specialists invites educators to ask questions, play games, and brainstorm new ways these games could be used in their classrooms. After an introductory game-based learning session, educators will have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to leverage game-based learning in their classrooms. Plus, these sessions are a great way to meet face-to-face with your implementation team to learn how to use supplemental resources that come with your program - reporting features, supplemental curriculum, etc.
2. Work collaboratively to create classroom activities. In addition to the important role educators play in a game-based learning program, research has also indicated that games are most successful when they’re used in conjunction with additional classroom activities. Getting your educators in a room together provides them the opportunity to think collaboratively about how they can use these resources with their traditional teaching methods. Many game-based learning programs include supplemental curriculum, but these tools can be altered to meet the needs of your educators and students. We’ve also seen professional development days as a great way for educators to better understand game content and collaboratively work to match the games to individual grade-level learning outcomes and standards.
3. Introduce the pedagogy. Game-based learning is another tool in the teacher’s toolbox that helps them introduce students to difficult concepts, transport students to dangerous or difficult to access places, and reach students who may be unable to learn through traditional classroom teaching methods. To ensure educators feel comfortable and prepared using game-based learning in their classrooms, your implementation team will coach educators on how and when to use games in the classroom. Through professional development days educators will understand why games can be effective teaching tools and how they can best enhance the classroom experience.
4. Increase utilization and training on existing hardware. Chromebooks? iPads? Android tablets? Computer labs? A game-based learning program can support any hardware being used in your district. We’ve heard from our partners in the field that one of the most challenging aspects of a new hardware implementation is finding rich, digital content for the devices. Hosting a game-based learning professional development day will help your educators get more out of these hardware purchases and learn how to use them as tools to help students build 21st Century Skills and become better digital citizens.
5. Get educators excited! Games are a great way to get educators excited about the new school year! We know that these implementations come with a variety of difficult-to-navigate steps. Between technical considerations, district-wide curriculum planning, and a roll-out plan, implementing new technology can be tough! Treating your educators to a hands-on, interactive, and fun-filled professional development day is just what they need to engage and inspire students in the new school year.