In this new series, we are introducing our audience to the Learningworks Live team! Each post will introduce you to a new member of our team and provide you with some insight into their teaching style, the classes they offer, and their passion for education and video gaming. For more information on our complete course listings, please visit us at our Outschool page.
Tell us about yourself as a teacher.
I’ve been teaching Learningworks For Kids online classes where we practice using our organization and planning skills to build fun and exciting projects in Minecraft. I’ve found students enjoy working with each other and discovering what they are capable of creating with a little preparation, organization, and planning before they start.
When did you start playing video games?
I started playing video games on Gameboy and Gamecube playing Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers, and Mario Party with my brother in elementary and middle school. Later In high school I was able to get an Xbox and eventually a PC which expanded what I was able to try and have fun with!
What types of games do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy team games where players work together to progress and gain power or compete against each other. Team games like Minecraft, Terraria, and Portal 2 let you work hard together to reach fun goals, while competitive games like Starcraft 2, and Star Wars the Old Republic let you fight against each other. These have also been some of my favorite games.
What types of games do you find the most challenging and why?
Competitive games where players are matched up against others in small environments are constantly different each match. I find having to react to how different opponents play is challenging and fun!
What have you learned by playing video games?
I’ve found that having an attitude of improvement in video games has really helped me improve and get better, rather than just focusing on winning. Oftentimes improving organization, planning ahead, and being flexible can help me succeed and reach my goals.
Also, in multiplayer games like Star Wars the Old Republic or Starcraft 2, being able to be flexible and adapt your play style to complement your partner can be a game changer. Being able to make friends quickly to communicate clearly and effectively on good terms has helped me adapt to working with others and achieve goals that require teamwork and collaboration. Noticing how important these thinking skills, separate from my skills at the video game, are in my success is eye opening, and highlights how useful these skills really are.
Why do you think that students today love playing video games?
I think some games have helped students to stay connected and play together during quarantine and social distancing. While it’s certainly not healthy to play games all day, having some fun activities that help you stay in touch with friends can feel really nice, especially if you learn from the activity.
How do you think students choose games based on their age?
I’ve found younger students tend to enjoy creative and open-ended games like Minecraft and Roblox that let you explore and have fun together. Older students are often interested in challenges that require teamwork, problem solving and persistence.
What concerns do you have about students playing video games?
Some games can be very addictive and distract students from other important activities and areas of their lives. It’s very important to balance your time using screens, spending time staying active and healthy, completing school work, and socializing and staying connected with friends and family in real life. Recognizing when you’re spending too much time playing games isn’t easy when you are focused on reaching that next goal. Students need to stay mindful of the time they spend playing games and make sure to avoid neglecting other crucial areas in their lives.
How can video games be used as a powerful tool for teaching?
Video games can be so fun and engaging, and oftentimes we’re using the same executive functioning skills we use in real life while we play. Understanding how these skills help us in game can help students understand the importance of utilizing the same skills in their real life.
Do you have a question for our Learningworks teachers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!