The literal meaning of a rockstar means that you need to be a star in rock music. But to my understanding, being a rockstar means that you are a star in your area, you rock. And the courage and confidence you get from being a star will help you accomplish more in your life.
When I was in primary school, I’ve always dreamed about being a star. I wanted to be good at maths, literacy, science, everything; I wanted to be a rockstar in my class. However I had no idea how to become really good at times tables or spelling because all my teacher had ever told me was to memorise everything.
It sounds like a possible plan, but my teacher actually forgot about one of the biggest obstacles for primary school kids to practice times tables and spelling: pupils don’t have the patience and passion to study; they just want to play and have fun.
So, on the one hand we need pupils to be really good at times tables and spelling, while on the other hand they are not willing to spend time practising and studying. What should we do now?
Games! With well-designed games, children can enjoy themselves while learning the subjects at the same time. What makes a game well-designed you ask? Here are the criteria:
1. The game must be focused on the subject.
2. The game must be developed by professionals.
3. The game must not bring negative influences to children.
Let’s talk more in details:
For criterion number 1, games must be focused on the subject that students need to learn. Either for times tables, additions, fractions or measurements, the game need to focus on the specific topic and also reflect to the learning objectives from the national curriculum.
For criterion number 2, games must be developed by professionals in education and children development. It is always a good thing to check the credibility of the developer; if the developer or the company is working with schools and universities, it’s always better than others who only claim themselves to be good.
For criterion number 3, games must not bring negative influences to children because the aim of using games as a tool is to get students more engaged in learning and practicing. For primary schools, it is better to have a kind and warm theme in games rather than having something with weird and strange images in it which are especially inappropriate for young kids who imitate everything they see.
Absolutely we want to have fun in education, but the ultimate goal of education is to not only teach knowledge to children, but help making them better persons who can contribute to the society when they grow up as well. Thus we as educators have to be responsible when it comes to choosing the correct and healthy resources to help us teach.