A “side effect” of COVID19 in education is schools’ closure. As a result, working with students online synchronously through a video conference is a big challenge. Among the issues that need special approaches are:
holding students’ interest
create and support interaction among teacher-students, and teaching material.
Shifting an online classroom to a “gaming platform” is a practice that confronts many of these issues. It boosts the students’ interest and masks the teacher’s aim to provide knowledge.
A well-designed game with a structure based on pedagogical strategies creates a tool easy to use it synchronously or asynchronously. Such strategies are students’ collaborative involvement in the creation of the game, guided search, direct feedback.
Why do I like games in the classroom and why do I hate them at the same time? Well, to start with, games are fun, they keep your mind focused, and are something students will always remember. On the other hand, there are not so many STEM games that are just perfect for the class, and most of them rather focus on completely other things than STEM. What we mostly forget is that STEM lessons should have educational values on the first place, and at the same time be fun and motivating. So when I discovered Android game Nuclear INC 2 you can only guess how excited I was.
For years I have been looking for a game that would be educational and motivate students to search for more answers. And this is why I like this game. In Nuclear INC 2 you take control over a nuclear power plant. You try to create as much energy as you can (to earn money) and at the same time avoiding nuclear meltdowns (for obvious reasons). And you do it by controlling uranium roads and cooling system. All parameters are here, core temperature, pressure, turbine temperature, radiation level… Too low temperature and you will not produce enough energy, too high and the pressure might be too big for the reactor.
Basically, this is what I would teach my students in a class, as nuclear power plants are one of the lessons in physics curriculum, only this time I can have my students play and search the answers themselves. All they would need is a little bit of guidance.
We implemented a lesson as an online lesson which was originally designed for classroom. Students learnt about natural disasters via an educational game (stopdisastersgame.org) and designed solutions for their imaginary villages. Their aim in the mentioned game is to protect their villages from different disasters.
Students spent an hour on playing stopdisastersgame which helps students understand the basic characteristics of natural forces and also provides some visual explanation about the preventive ways of negative consequences of natural disasters.