As COVID-19 cases continue to rise sharply here in the United States, many school districts across the country are experiencing a swift transition to remote learning – and for good reason. Friends of Filament, please take extra precautions to protect the safety of yourself and others…wear a mask, wash your hands, and – if at all feasible – just stay at home!
Whether your remote learning journey is just getting started – or you’re already a seasoned pro – games can be an excellent way to help build community and engage your homebound students. Below, we’ve shared a look at five of our favorite resources for using games as both remote instruction tools and a way to help students manage the transition to distance learning. And if you’ve got other great game-based learning resources to share, please give it a shout-out on our Facebook or Twitter!
Kicking off today’s list is iCivics’ Remote Learning Toolkit – a free resource designed to help educators seamlessly integrate civic learning into their virtual classrooms. Split into two sections – each with specific resources tailored to both teachers and families– iCivics’ toolkit is packed with hands-on games, lesson plans, and enrichment activities to help you and your students make the most of their library of more than 20 high-quality civic games. Of course, iCivics’ games are geared primarily towards social studies and American government classrooms – but if you ask me, I think we could all benefit from a civic learning refresher every once in a while!
Minecraft: Education Edition
Less than a decade after its 1.0 release, Minecraft has become the world’s best-selling video game of all time – surpassing other gaming giants like Tetris, Super Mario Bros., and Wii Sports. Naturally, Microsoft’s EDU-focused version of the game has also made a massive impact on the education space, with educators around the globe using the game to teach lessons across practically all subjects – language arts, history, coding, and more. For a closer look at some of the free resources that Microsoft has made available to help teachers and families manage the transition to remote learning, check out their guide to learning at home with Minecraft.
Next up, a remote learning resource from BrainPop that’s totally different from the rest on our list – a distance learning toolkit designed for learners! Keeping in mind the many challenges that kids and teens face as they adjust to learning at home, BrainPop’s guide aims to set students up for remote learning success through videos, activities, and games, each focused on concepts like digital etiquette, setting schedules, and staying healthy. And don’t worry, educators – BrainPop also offers a remote learning guide for parents and teachers, with four tips for making the most of the site’s digital games and resources!
While Classcraft’s educational role-playing classroom management solution is moreso a gamification tool rather than pure game-based learning, there’s no question that they’ve put a ton of effort into helping educators manage the transition to distance learning – as evidenced by their robust guide to remote education. Offering video tutorials, a how-to guide to creating digital communities, and even an invitation to try their product for free, Classcraft’s toolkit is a must-read for existing users – as well as folks who are simply looking for fresh ideas for engaging their students virtually.
Rounding out today’s list are some distance learning resources from yours truly! Earlier this year, we published an in-depth analysis of what makes games such powerful tools for remote instruction – and more recently, a roundup of free learning game resources for educators. Twice each week – on Monday and Wednesday, respectively – we publish new blog articles written with game-based learning and EdTech enthusiasts in mind. If you have any suggestions for remote learning resources or other content that you’d like to see us share on our blog – be sure to let us know on our Facebook or Twitter!
More game-based learning resources from the Filament Games blog:
How Game-Based Learning Fosters the “4 Cs” of 21st Century Learning
Esports EDU: Competitive Gaming in the K-12 Classroom
10 Brilliant Game-Based Learning TED Talks