Bridging the Gap From Grade to Grade

I had a thought today as I was sitting at the desk in the Testing Center trying to decide what concept I wanted to include in the game I would be designing for EDUC 688. There has always been an issue of remembering content from grade to grade and the inevitable process of reviewing content the first couple of weeks out of the school year. Why are students simply forgetting the information? Some it has to do with summer vacation and being involved in other activities that do not involve content from the previous school year on a daily basis. For example, Math is a ongoing process to master and a three month sabbatical from it will leave those students playing catchup in the Fall. How do we combat this problem?

A couple ideas that could be implemented would be more parent involvement during the summer months to help keep the learning process going. Parents could “home-school” students on information the learned from the previous school year as preparation for the next grade. While the resources they have at their disposal will vary, a basic parcel of tools could be created and supplied to parents to aide them in their “instruction.”

The second idea, which I got from sitting at the desk, would be to create a game that includes content from the previous grade. Many students, both male and female, play video games almost on a daily basis. While their interests vary on gametypes, there must be some common ground between the two genders that could allow for a game to be born. One that is both entertaining and serves its purpose as a tutor of sorts for the summer. Maybe its just wishful thinking on my part to see such a thing come to life, but our students come from an age of technology and gaming. Why not incorporate those things into retaining the information to help both them and teachers for the next grade level?


3 Responses to “Bridging the Gap From Grade to Grade”

  1. You asked “Why are students simply forgetting the information?”

    There may be a disconnect between the observation and the causation. Your assumption is that they actually learned it to begin with, therefore, they have the mental capacity to forget it.

    I’d maintain that they never really *learned* it to begin with. What they learned was how to pass the test, and having accomplished the goal, relegated the detritus to the great mental bit-bucket in their heads.

    The more interesting challenge would be to devise a curriculum that taught the students that what they were learning had relevance in a larger context so that “passing the test” ceased to be the goal and “mastering the content” became inevitable.

    You wanna create an educational game? Stop trying to make games that teach. All the successful games on the market involve adding points and leveling up based on participation in a simulation or contest. Thinly disguised quizzes requiring students to answer questions about content just aren’t games. Design a game where they need to knowledge to solve the problem that unlocks the BFG and you’re onto something.

  2. I don’t want to make a game that will take the place of the teacher. I want to create a game that is more of an application game. You need to have an understanding of basic skills to succeed. One of the ideas that I’m considering is a citizenship game similar to the popular simulation game “The Sims.” In that game, you have to know certain life skills to succeed. Failure to master those skills and you begin to see the negative side of life and lost the game. My game would show how citizenship plays out in the real world. While my game may not be a 100% real simulation it will be pretty close representation. We are always looking for ways to make things more relevant and I believe this game will accomplish that.

  3. That sounds very cool!

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