#diffimooc Week 5: Differentiation with games

Many of the materials I have read and watched about games in the classroom have one current theme, that using technology-based games in the classroom allows for immediate feedback. Teachers can use the feedback they receive to tailor their instruction for their students. According to Moyle, “Learning is differentiated with the use of technologies as well as through the use of games, with the aim that feedback is immediate and ongoing (p.6).”

Games allow teachers to give and get formative feedback about their student’s educational needs. I have experience using iXL, Ticket to Read, Odyssey Math, and Mathletics in my classroom. All of these sites have some type of gaming component, to make learning fun for the students. With each program teachers can view reports on student progress. With some programs, like Ticket to Read, teachers can tailor the program to a student’s reading level, so they receive an individualized experience. Odyssey Math allows teachers to assign pre-assessments for students. If students received a low score (teachers set the score required to pass the assessment) on the pre-assessment the program would assign lessons on those concepts.

It’s important educators stay current with technologies students enjoy using, because it will help increase student engagement.  Robert Pronovost in the Edutopia video Differentiating Instruction Through Interactive Games mentions that he could give his students worksheets to complete the same task, but using technology-based games is more engaging and exciting for students.


Differentiating Instruction Through Interactive Games (Tech2Learn Series). (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ0BGXMf83

Moyle, K. (2012). Session A-Differentiated classroom learning, technologies and school improvement: what experience and research can tell us. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1135&context=research_conference

Online Math Games Balance Challenge with Mastery Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVIe3HwCThI#t=127








4 thoughts on “#diffimooc Week 5: Differentiation with games

  1. I’ve been having this thought that “differentiation” has been important in education long before it had a name. The one-room schools of long ago needed it just as much as teachers who have a single grade level of students. Yet our school and classroom designs or infrastructure are designed first and foremost to help us manage the physical environment, then student learning takes place within that operational structure. We have a hard enough time making changes in pedagogy and integrating technology but what if the physical design of a school were differentiated as well? And not just for inclusion or relative to the different ages of students but to really have differentiated school infrastructure. I’d like to think that technology in the classroom (and in the school) can help us to do that in a virtual way since financial implications and other issues prevent us from completely “rearranging” a school. I love how this course continues to push me to see differentiation across areas and concepts!

  2. The Odyssey Math program sounds interesting. I especially like that you can assign pre-assessments. I like to know before I start a class just how much my students know. It helps me determine if there was progress throughout the year. Carnegie math let me do the same thing when I was using it. With education becoming increasingly more data-driven, it is important to show that students are indeed learning.

    You and I were thinking similarly this week. I used the same video from Robert Provonost in my blog as well. I thought it was very interesting. I also picked up on his comment about games versus worksheets. There is absolutely no doubt as to which one will be more interesting and engaging to students.

  3. I think that games like these are great, and the quote is right on–why not use the games to get the student to where he or she needs to be? It is almost guaranteed to be more engaging.
    Even so, I think we’re all still waiting for a game that is standards-focused that a student will be excited to play when they get home. Sure, the games we currently have access to are preferable to textbooks, but they are only engaging in a relative sense. If a student has free time, they’ll likely choose a game that is engaging in an absolute sense. I don’t think that we have that perfect game yet, but Minecraft can become that game. There just needs to be a giant repository of standards-based materials so that teachers can assign something without having to design it first!

  4. Feedback is a great thing to point out. Games do an excellent job of giving students feedback immediately. Sometimes it can take me a few days to get a paper, test, or worksheet graded. Most games give students feedback immediately or at the end of a stage helping them adjust their strategy for the next level or question. I see feedback as one of the keys to progress in education. If we can shorten the time it takes to get feedback to students I think we will see a lot more growth.

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