I wanted to use games in the classroom, after all, the curriculum guide (which I had to follow) called for logic puzzles and games. So, I planned to have “games days” at regular intervals throughout the term. “Great idea” said my colleagues, followed by “but we should have some way to make sure it’s educationally relevant.”
There is something in this phrase that speaks to the nature of education in North America. Is it assumed a student isn’t learning when they are playing a game? I would completely disagree with this point; students have to use logic and follow rules, just like in mathematics, to play most any game. However, I was told I had to have some sort of activity students did to make sure there was learning.
Here’s the rub: the students were learning, we all knew that, but we had to come up with some strategy to make sure we could prove it. But how does one prove learning? Is it done with exams? Can it be done with a successful win? What about if a student can explain how to play the game?
What does it mean to be “educationally relevant”?