Using educational games to build research skills

 
Using educational games to build research skills

Games provide an excellent opportunity to use knowledge and practice skills until you're confident with them.

A game provides a welcome break between chunks of more traditional classroom activities, injects a bit of fun, and provides a safe, low stakes environment to practice the research skills they've been learning.

  1. Because of the way games work you can be sure students are getting correct feedback and information. Get it wrong and they won't be able to progress further in the game.
  2. 'Points of faliure' gives ample opportunity for students to pause and seek help (which they may not have realised they didn't fully understand) as well as keeping more advanced students busy while they progress through harder levels.

Let's look at three games on BrainPOP that students can use to develop stronger research skills.


Search Shark

Search Shark is a great way for students to practice their search skills and develop their keyword strategies outside of the pressure of a real project.

In this game students learn how to choose effective keywords for searching online. They practice selecting keywords that are most relevant to a search prompt. Along the way, students discover hints for narrowing their search results.

Because student get instant feedback on whether their choices are correct this ensures that they both aren't distracted by thousands of unhelpful results and they don't become frustrated by not being able to work out why they haven't succeeded.

Sports Network 2

In the Sports Network 2 is an educational game where students take on the role of the Managing Director of a Sports Network that wants to appeal to the teen demographic.

Each quest is meant to represent “a day at work”. Students are continually presented with problems they must solve and choices they must make in order to arrive at their goals.

This is a useful game for general reading skills practice as well as practice finding and inferring the main idea of a text selection.

This game also gives students an opportunity to apply their reading skills to a real-world context and to career-related scenarios.

After The Storm: Day One

The After The Storm: Day One game provides opportunities to practice research, reading, and writing skills within a real-world context.

Through game play, students take on the role of a news magazine editor-in-chief, and must research facts through a variety of informational texts (such as press releases, email, and text massages) and then edit stories and coordinate social media to disseminate information to the community about a major hurricane.

After the Storm helps students learn about writing, editing, the importance of the main idea in a text, and balancing big-picture needs with the crucial details of putting together a news magazine.