In the short time that we have had our classroom iPads, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at games that benefit my students. I have seen several articles out on the Internet, which criticize the use of iPads for playing games in school, but I have to disagree.
Before the iPads came into the classroom, we were already playing games! Whether those were math games, word games, strategy games, review games or cooperative games; we have been playing them for years! When students play games, they are more engaged, and their learning is solidified in a way that carries forward through upcoming lessons. It only seems natural to use the iPads for that same reason.
In preparation for a recent presentation at iPadSummitUSA, I created a ThingLink – an interactive photograph – as a resource for attendees. On this image, I linked to a few of the games I have found to be useful in the classroom:
When I review games, I’m looking for several factors:
1. Does it match a goal in our curriculum? I’ve been looking mostly for math and ELA games, but I also like for my students to play games that involve strategy or cooperation. Both skills go a long way when it comes to problem solving and group-work.
2. Does it have the capability of including more than one player? I love when two students are able to share one device, and play head-to-head, or at least use a pass-and-play feature. When devices are limited, we are able to share so more students can participate!
3. Cost. We are trying VERY hard this year to not purchase any apps for our BYOD pilot. Sometimes that can be a challenge. The apps I’m finding that are free are sometimes limited in some way. Either there are levels which cannot be unlocked, or there are ads that come up from time to time. Because I cannot control the ads that come up, I’m not always always crazy about that feature. In some cases, I’ve spent my own money to put a paid app onto my own teacher iPad. That way, students can still play it from time to time, and we haven’t had to pay for it on all of our school iPads.
Included in the above image are the following games designed for more than one player:
Mancala Kalah: Free
SET Game ($4.99)
Chicktionary: Free (not a multiplayer, but kids can work together)
Math Party: Free
4 In A Row: Free
As always, this process is a work in progress. If you have any elementary games you have found to be valuable in your classroom, feel free to share! I’d love to add to our bank of options.
Stay Tuned and Paddle On!