Are we losing in the tech battle?
Happy New Year! I hope you had an interesting, if low key, New Year’s Eve. This year has been so different in lots of ways but I hope that you still had a good time.
Today I’m talking about entertainment. Unfortunately, not yours or mine, but our kids’ being entertained. As a parent and a teacher, I sometimes feel that no matter how much planning and effort I put into something, a lesson or a fun activity, my kids would still much rather be playing on their phones or tablets.
I have spent years pushing against this. I tried forcing them to do my (much, more fun) activities, I tried making my lessons more fun and engaging, I tried bribery! While all these things worked for a while, they didn’t solve the underlying problem. The kids wanted to play with their tech!
Then the pandemic hit, online everything inserted itself into our lives so forcibly, that now lots of us do not leave the house at all. Teaching moved to 100% online and teaching styles have been forced to adjust. All of this has made me see that I was fighting the wrong battle. I shouldn’t have been fighting technology for the kids’ attention, I should have been working with it!
So how do we so this? Well, here’s my favourite ways to use game playing to our advantage.
Make playing the game a reward
This is the simplest and often our go-to as teachers, they do the work they get rewarded with a game.
Make the learning a game
You are probably well aware that I love escape rooms for teaching, however, they aren’t the only way. Grab your kids favourite board games and switch out the questions. They can still play the game, but now they are practicing and assessing their knowledge at the same time.
Put the kids in control of the playing
This takes the pressure off you completely. Tell them they can play their games if they are educational. Then set them to it! See what they come up with.
Jump on all the band wagons
I know it can be exhausting keeping up with the new fads (and I truly believe escape rooms aren’t a fad by the way). But kids love being involved in the NEW thing. Have them chase ancient Queens in AR, make posters come to life in the classroom and play on interactive task cards. These things are all part of tech and still pretty new, this makes the learning exciting.
These are just a few ideas, and I hope you use them to support your teaching. If you have more to add or any comments please let me know!