Increase Engagement Through Game Based Learning: One Teacher’s Take on iCivics in Their Classroom
August 07, 2014
Are you a new teacher? Are you an experienced teacher trying to use more technology in your classroom? Are you a teacher looking for a new lesson plan? Do you have students that would rather play games on their smartphone then turn in their homework? If you are any of the above, then iCivics is the platform that will have your students playing educational games at night and during weekends. I’ve witnessed firsthand how connecting students to iCivics gets them more engaged in the classroom. I’ve also watched how the gaming quality of the lesson plans increase student interest in civics during their spare time as they compete with their friends and classmates.
As a teacher, iCivics is technologically friendly and can be used by almost anyone (teacher or student) regardless of technical knowledge, comfort or ability. The platform is flexible enough to be used for one hour, one day or entire units of lessons. Games
are also tied to lesson plans that are connected to different standards and resources and iCivics lessons and games are set-up for individual or full class participation without any scaffolding. These different options allow teachers to use iCivics with almost any technological set-up, to be used as needed or in conjunction with other prepared lessons and materials. Also, because it is technology based, it is a perfect fit for classrooms that are starting to integrate 1:1 teaching and flipped classrooms that can be assessed for any student at any time.
iCivics is set-up to allow both teachers and students to have success as education progresses to keep pace with technology. Teachers not only need creative platforms for learning, but these tools need to provide opportunities for teachers to monitor and assess a student’s progress. As the need to produce measurable results increases, iCivics is a perfect tool to use. Teachers are able to track logins, time spent online and scores and achievements for each individual student. This makes differentiated instruction easy to achieve for all of your students. (Read more on how iCivics is improving the measurable impact of game-based learning here!)
Lastly, as much as some of might fight to keep the attention of students in a world where information, communication and games are available 24/7, iCivics can be your solution. While learning, students are playing games (or maybe the other way around) and this makes it an easy sell to keep their interest both in and out of the classroom. I have had students that have spent a dozen hours on a weekend trying to achieve a higher score for a game only to have them come back on Monday and know all of their amendments or major Supreme Court cases. Today students can distracted by the amount of stimulation around us. I am happy to say that I still have my students attention even after they leave school and if you introduce them iCivics, then you will too!
Joe is currently in his ninth year of teaching Social Studies in Northeast Wisconsin at Peshtigo Middle/High School and is a dedicated life-long learner. He is looking to change the world one student at a time, and continues to look for ways to connect his students and classroom to the world around them through a variety of learning experiences. Follow him on Twitter: @madisonteacher.