Are games our just rewards? Or are they something more? Lucas Gillispie, teacher and founder of his school’s MMORPG club, says we should stop treating classroom gaming as the “fun” stuff that kids get to do after the “real” stuff.
When we tell students, “Once you’ve completed your assignment, you can play this game,” what we’re essentially saying is that playing is not learning. Playing is learning, and games should be approached as fruitful, engaging learning experiences, not simply as rewards for finishing the “real” learning.
Gaming can be put to great use in the classroom, as well as outside of it, but it will never reach its true potential if we decide that the only real way to learn is through textbooks and written assignments. Play is not a waste of time. Gillispie says:
“This only widens the gap of relevancy between what happens in the classroom and what happens outside of school in the minds of our learners. Incentivizing play in learning relegates video games to a dessert tray that can only be sampled once you’ve eaten your spelling words and finished all of your algebra. We’re doing kids a long-term disservice in their thinking.”