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Games-based learning

Maree Innes tells us about her experience of games-based learning with her primary 2/3 class.

Primary Teacher, Aboyne Primary School, Aberdeenshire

During my probation year, I have been the class teacher for a P2/3 class of 24 pupils and we were fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in a games-based learning initiative.

My class took part in a "Nintendogs" project and we were loaned eight Nintendo DS consoles and related software. The purpose of the project was to provide a rich context for learning and, on this occasion, I believe that this objective was fully met.

The project was supported by the Aberdeenshire Glow team who provided comprehensive plans that showed how the project contributes to the entitlements of A Curriculum for Excellence. They also gave good ideas for suggested learning activities.

First impressions

My immediate thoughts on receiving the consoles centred on the implication of having only 8 consoles for a class of 24 pupils. I wondered how the children would cope with sharing the equipment and the impact on their team-working skills. I need not have been concerned as development of these skills was one of the most successful outcomes of the topic.

Through discussion of team formation, the pupils organised themselves into groups of three, with each team including a child who already owned the game. Over the six-week period we rolled out the game "Nintendogs", while engaging in other related activities such as making dog registration forms and researching and reporting on a breed of dog. We had a visit from the Guide Dogs charity and continue to be involved with them by taking part in fund raising activities.

Glow-ing introduction

This project was a great way to introduce the pupils to Glow as their Puppydog Tales Group encouraged us to share our learning in the form of diaries and entering our competition results in a league table.

An enjoyable project

This has been a most enjoyable project for both the pupils and me; I found it to be engaging and relevant for the class.

It was an active approach to learning, which has allowed for choice and the pupils have been given opportunities to collaborate and develop their problem-solving skills. They have been given opportunities to learn through technology by using the Nintendo consoles and its Pictochat facility.

Their knowledge of Glow has increased as they used the Puppydog tales group to record and share information and they are now keen to engage further with this learning resource.

I particularly noticed the improvement in the pupils' skills in team working and respecting others' needs and opinion. They worked through their problems and understood the rules regarding behaviour within the team and were co-operating effectively.

Overall, I would strongly recommend taking part in this type of games based learning and hope to be able to participate in similar activities in the future.