Click on the link below to get to my hangman game:
In this day and age, I think parents expect teachers to differentiate. I don’t know if they all understand and know that what they expect is called “differentiation”. However, parents expect teachers to meet every need of their lovely child, or at least that’s how it feels. They often ask teachers, how are you challenging my child? Or how are you making sure my child doesn’t fall behind? As an educator I always tried to communicate with the parents of my students the concepts we were working on in class and the types of activities we were doing. I would do this through newsletters, conferences, and open houses. The article Lee shared with us about inviting parents in to the classroom is another great way to educate/communicate what is going on in the classroom.
However, preparing parents for gaming/gamification, that’s a different story. I don’t have experience with gaming/gamification in my classroom, but I could see parents having an issue with it. I could see parents not understanding the importance or value in using gaming/gamification. Of course there are parents that are probably all for it, parents who have seen it used in classrooms already, or read about it and thought if only my teachers had used gaming/gamification to motivate me when I was in school. Michelle Alvarez is a Middle School teacher who blogs about using gamification in her class. She posted a reflection about her experiences titled Maximizing your Gamification Presentation to Parents and Administration. Alvarez writes (2013), “Don’t try to educate them all at once. Just as you likely took your time learning about this approach, give them information a little at a time – scaffold it just as you would any other lesson. I made the mistake of moving too fast and, although they were all very excited and enthusiastic, there was a lot of confusion and misunderstanding in the beginning.” She also shares how she invited parents in to see gamification in action and to allow parents to observe how their child interacted. As stated by Schaaf (2015), “Your gamified lesson needs buy-in across the board. When you introduce gamified instruction, make it an event. Write a blog post, send newsletters, run an ad campaign on the whiteboard — but most of all, send clear communication home about the learning goals for the lesson and how you will be helping all students to meet those goals.”
I think parents want to know their child is learning to their potential and being educationally challenged in a safe environment and if using gaming/gamification can help their students do this, parents will understand it’s importance.
Alvarez, M. (2013, May 7). Maximizing your gamification presentation to parents and administration. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://gamifyingmyclass.com/2013/05/07/139/
Boyle, J. (2013, December 29). Gaming education: Are parents, teachers, and schools ready to embrace gaming as a learning tool? Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2013/12/gaming-education-are-parents-teachers-and-schools-ready-to-embrace-gaming-as-a-learning-tool/
Schaaf, R. (2015, January 21). 4 best practices in implementing game-based learning. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.infosavvy21.com/blog/2015/1/21/4-best-practices-in-implementing-game-based-learning
Tomlinson, C. A. (2012). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. ASCD.