Uncover some hidden treasure in learning

GAMES are part of the mash-up, and effective, motivating, accessible resources for the classroom. Many are free to try or peanuts to buy – saving the teacher a great deal of time and giving them a motivation power-up that ignites learning.

While many continue to explore ‘web2.0’, they are often not exploring the diverse and rich media being produced for playful learning.

Picture yourself as a student – about start using this game to learn.

“Fresh from a successful exploration of the wreck of the Titanic, the Hidden Expedition Club will pit one of its stellar members against a formidable group of opponents in a race to the summit of Everest. Other groups will battle you to be the first to summit Mount Everest. Expert Everest climber Ed Viesturs will assist you along the way. Explore mysteries of the world as you find hidden clues. Race to the Roof of the World!”

Sound exciting? – Maybe exciting enough to do a couple of hours work deconstructing this text? Using Google Earth, History sites maybe drawing the character; writing a story even. My point here is that games often have an instant narrative, instant motivation to which teachers can subtly add outcomes. It almost doesn’t have to feel like learning at all.

Hidden Treasure is a very slick example of hundreds of games that are available to teachers online.  The demo alone has been downloaded over 8 million times. The game itself allows for a lot of classroom fun, but also allows wider exploration of some of the under pinning themes and concepts that a skilled teacher can weave around it. For under ten dollars; there are numerous puzzle, adventure and discovery games to explore online – allowing playful learning. Just like Web2.0, we have to adapt games into learning as a mash-up. We don’t need to use an instructional CD-Rom, just go online.

Games online have perhaps made leaps forward than ‘websites’ yet are often still viewed with a prejudicial 1990’s lens – where games were predicated violent behaviour and arcades were for drop outs and gangsters. Games, like the rest of the web have come a long way and await discovery in the classroom.