Santa Maria de Cana argues that “play helps children to learn informally”. This suggests that through games, children can learn interactively to use information technologies (IT) and Web 3.0 tools.
At Saint George’s School, the IT department has led on introducing educational gaming tools and technologies for students from Transition to 11th Grade with software such as GCompris and Scratch. There are an infinite number of online activities as well, such as Code.org, Lightbot, MyMaths.co.uk, that offer students the opportunity to reflect on how they think and learn. These activities become a form of active learning for students where they can develop greater autonomy in their learning and ultimately set their own goals.
In the classroom, these interactive methods help develop students’ abilities in information and communication technology and promote learning across different subjects. The autonomy they provide to students allows those who are afraid of making mistakes or being judged, to participate freely and actively in their learning and reflect critically on their own progress. This improves their emotional wellbeing and develops their ability to communicate without being nervous or shy and thus develop relationships with their peers. These same students who initially struggled can go on to make some of the best contributions and lead on topics.
Students are first given an overview of the programme to become familiar with the icons, tools and commands they will need to use. They then work through some example games and activities. This introduction to the programme is when students can ask questions. They are then set an activity that draws in concepts from other subjects, allowing students to revise, reinforce and contextualise what they have learnt. Lastly, they review and compare their work in pairs to check that what they have done is correct and meets the objective.
In Pre-school, students use GCompris, which runs on Linux but can also be used in a limited way on Windows. GCompris is a package of applications and activities that helps familiarise students from a young age with numbers, the alphabet and the keyboard; there are also activities in logical thinking. The penguin in the activities is fun for small children who learn at the same time.
In Primary, students are introduced to programming through the software Scratch. This is based on the concept of blocks, similar to C++ or Visual Basic using the same parameters and principles but is provided visually to make it more user-friendly. Students can create their own animations, stories, comics and games, as well as programme robots. Scratch is used from 4th to 6th Grade to reinforce revision in some subjects and concepts through the creation of games such as Trivia, where a mix of general knowledge, current affairs and subject-specific questions are asked. Students are more engaged because the questions are written by their peers and they try to answer each other’s questions. Other software is used to teach students about programming and coding. Agar.io is a game using mouse clicks and the keyboard where students learn about coding and concepts of constant and compiled variables. Code.org is an online platform with a variety of resources available to students of any age and level. Students progress from the most basic through to the most complex tasks, by learning how to code using programming languages, syntax and algorithms. Games are also used by students for maths. MyiMaths.com helps internalise and apply concepts learnt, with a multitude of games and exercises involving mathematical operations and problem solving.
By: Miguel Alexander Salek Rodríguez
Technology Teacher and Specialist, St George’s School
(All photos are by M. Salek, 2018)
 Es.slideshare.net. (2018). LA IMPORTANCIA DEL JUEGO EN EL APRENDIZAJE. [online] Available at: https://es.slideshare.net/oscaracampuzano/la-importancia-del-juego-en-el-aprendizaje [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018].