How Digital Games Take The Stress Out Of Assessment
Any new educational technology tool has been met with skepticism by both parents and teachers, and digital games are no different. The word ‘game’ seems to tap into educators’ fears that all of this technology is really just a waste of time and money.
However, as digital games continue to show how they can help motivate students to learn, they are also being used to take the stress out of assessment for both teachers and students.
Low-Stress Assessments for Teachers
Assessment is stressful for everyone involved, especially teachers. Teachers have to come up with assessments that are practical to grade and that give them the information they need to help their students. Teachers also have to prepare students emotionally and academically for external assessment, the results of which may impact their own jobs.
One way that digital games can take some of the stress out of assessments for teachers is by allowing them to stop worrying so much about cheating on online assessments and to focus on skills rather than content. Teachers can stop worrying about their students Googling the answer for a question because educational games take an assessment to the next level. As the focus of education moves away from the knowledge of content to 21st-century skills, gamification answers the need for dynamic assessments that can assess high-level skills.
Digital games can be designed to adapt to students and meet them where they are, so teachers get a better idea of what students know and what they know how to do with that knowledge. It would be quite a hefty task for a teacher to make a truly adaptive, differentiated assessment, but digital games make it possible. Adaptive assessment means that no child is lost in the shuffle and that children are challenged at their level, which means they will be engaged in the learning process. It also means that teachers can focus their attention on responding to the assessment results.
Using Assessment to Motivate Students
Game-based assessment also has benefits for students. Playing games gives students a sense of accomplishment and access to immediate feedback, which is not the case with traditional assessments. When a learner completes a level or masters a skill in a digital game, she knows it immediately, which helps to drive the motivation for learning. Rewards and indicators of progress are more meaningful and motivating for most students than grades.
This motivation for learning is especially important for rote memorization. Many may think that it is no longer necessary to teach typing in computer class, but many students do not how to type efficiently. Gamification helps to overcome the tediousness that can creep into learning how to type by introducing fun and rewards. What areas of your content could be evaluated in this way?
Taking Assessment Further
For most students, assessments or quizzes or tests are negative experiences disconnected from the actual learning process. However, educational gamification with its rewards, consequences, and connections to real-world situations can help students to reflect. Instead of just saying they should have studied more, students can think about what they did well during a game and how they can apply that knowledge both in and out of the game.
Considering the possible benefits of using digital games in assessment, it is necessary for teachers to start dedicating sufficient time to testing them out themselves and incorporating them into the curriculum. What digital games have you used? Do you use them for assessment?