What Makes Game-Based Learning So Effective–& How Does It Work?

When we think of games, we often think of them as somewhat trivial or just for fun, but can a game-based learning environment really change the way students learn and teachers teach?

Researchers agree that people learn best in a game environment, more than any other traditional form of instruction, but why?

Imagine Math gamesPeople love games. We like to have fun and we especially like to win. While it may go without saying, this tendency holds true in a learning environment as well.

Winning doesn’t necessarily imply there is a loser. Some of the best game-based instructional tools provide students with a judgement-free learning environment, helping them achieve many small wins over time that lead to higher motivation and less stress.

This concept also counters the pass/fail model of testing and evaluations by allowing students to focus more on learning the material and improving so that they can move on to the next level. Read more »

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Fun Summer Learning Activity: DIY Sundial

summer learning, sundial, Imagine Learning

Today is the first day of summer–also known by astronomers, scientists, and mathematicians as the Summer Solstice. The June Solstice takes place each year between June 20th and June 22nd and means that the Earth is farthest from the Sun on that day. This also makes students on summer vacation happy as there are more hours of sunlight to enjoy! Read more »

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Slowing the Summer Slide–Part II: Math

summer slide, mathematics, achievement gap, Imagine MathAs we discussed in a previous post, the typical American student enjoys a three-month break from school for summer vacation, providing well-deserved rest from the rigors of academia.

But studies suggest the summer fun may also come at a price.

According to a 2011 study by researchers at the RAND Corporation called “Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning,” summer break – albeit necessary and beneficial in many aspects – could potentially set some students back two to three full months of grade-level equivalency if not supplemented with additional summer learning support.

The RAND study also indicates that the summer slide is more pronounced in mathematics, a subject in which learning decay occurs more rapidly over summer vacation simply because of math inactivity. Students may read over summer vacation, but few practice their math skills. Read more »

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Slowing the Summer Slide–Part I: Literacy

summer slide, reading, literacySummer is nearly here!

While kids may be rejoicing about the prospect of a summer break, parents and educators may wonder what they can do to combat the dreaded “Summer Slide”–a time when many students lose or forget the skills they learned during the school year.

As all educators know, kids who are already below grade level in their reading are especially at risk when summer break hits.

Summertime and the Reading Is Easy?

During the school year, struggling readers may receive more hands-on help from teachers and supplemental digital programs like Imagine Language & Literacy. But all bets are off once kids leave for the summer break.

For one thing, not all parents have the luxury of being at home with kids during the summer months.

What’s more–daycare, summer camps, and even summer school can be expensive for a lot of families. Even parents who work may not have the means to fight the summer slide in the traditional ways.

So, what’s a parent to do? Read more »

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How to Build Math-Motivated Students

math motivation, Imagine MathSomewhere right now, a student is struggling with math. But is their struggle productive or pointless? The answer depends on one thing: motivation.

The fact is, it takes patience and perseverance to build any skill, such as phonological awareness for budding readers or math fluency for budding mathematicians.

But when students are motivated to keep going, they’re on a sure path to mastery–even in the middle of setbacks and failure.

What Motivates Math Learning?

It’s a given that no two students are alike. Clearly, what motivates one may not work for another.

Moreover, each student needs a variety of problem-solving skills. In math–as in life–there may be more than one “right” answer. Given the complexity of this process, what motivators are best? Read more »

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