Blog by: Maria Meso, Shell Primary Trainer
Games were the order of the day during my growing up days. There were no televisions and electronic gadgets. We played with stones, sticks, recycled materials. We played school using rusted zinc as chalkboards and pieces of chalk we brought from school. The games we played had a huge impact on our understanding of mathematical, or should I say arithmetic concepts. Games such as diketo, skipping, dibeke, angush bathi and marbles impacted much on counting, addition, subtraction and multiplication. “Ready” played with a groove on the ground and 2 sticks was much on estimation and measurement. The games gradually diminished with introduction of television and electronic gadgets. Our children play less if any outdoor games; they have turned into couch potatoes.
When the director introduced the gamification campaign, this rekindled the little girl in me. I wanted to understand and play all the games. Most of the games are commercialised and learners would relate to them. I also hoped that the teachers would be as excited as I was; and get learners to play to nurture understanding and reinforce concepts.
Getting the teachers to play the games was interesting; some were not familiar with the games and were shy to play. While, others knew the games but were not ready to play them with a twist of mathematics. However when they started playing, the mood changed. The competitive spirit kicked in, the younger themselves emerged. They could even laugh at themselves when making mistakes, or not being able to describe mathematical terms within the given time; this is when they played thirty seconds. They felt the challenge of drawing when they played Pictionary. Drawing geometric solids was not easy.
The learners played with enthusiasm; however they were stopped at their tracks by the twists in the games. When playing snakes and ladders, they first had to solve either a multiplication or division sum within 30 seconds before moving their token. This encouraged competitiveness, as the learners had to apply the knowledge and skills they had learned before.
Overall some teachers have taken gamification on. They have begun designing games and using them in their teaching. Hopefully all teachers will use games in their teaching.