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Books del Sur curates Latin America Spanish-language literature to support dual language curriculum.
Books del Sur curates Latin America Spanish-language literature to support dual language curriculum.
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Who's Got Game? Gaming as a Social Justice Issue

kids typing on keyboardI was fortunate to present the following at the 2013 GLS Conference 9.0.  My goal was to explore the power of game play as a means of creating more equitable learning experiences for English Language Learners (ELLs). 

Participants played, reflected upon, and discussed examples of game-based learning at the intersection of language development, lesson modification, play as motivation, and social justice. After my riveting presentation (which you can find as a google doc here or email me for the Power Point .... we had a fascinating discussion about: How can we use games to increase language development?  

We came up with the following ideas:

  •  Have teachers play games
  • Pay attention to what happens outside of the game space
  • Game developers provide support to teachers with videos, different focuses (modifications), teaching strategies, cheat sheets – how to move through the game (walk through)
  • Involve teachers in the game design/development
  • Marry game developers and professional development
  • Educate teachers about gamification – definitions
  • Produce research to show that transfer of engagement & motivation
  • Solve all problems with our US cultural around education (and lots of other things)
  • Flood the court approach
  • Modify games to create concrete experiences that promote social justice
  • Move games into our schools to provide access
  • Activate prior knowledge
  • Create games with a strong narrative OR a complete sandbox
  • Thinking systemically & critically – who’s creating games? What is their motivation?
  • – game design in another language
  • Joel Levin talks about Minecraft – it’s awesome J - so basically use MinecraftEDU in your classrooms, engagement is high and creativity is incredible.  Then use some teaching strategies to enhance their vocabulary – wala – greatness!

How have you used games to increase your students' concrete experiences and vocabulary?

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