Finding the right games to play in the classroom is an effort worth making. After all, we’re talking better lesson quality and improved student engagement. Research has shown that gamified activities can bring more enjoyment in class and better knowledge retention, boosting everyone’s morale — educators and pupils alike. Add an interactive whiteboard to the mix and you’re geared up for memorable moments.
Read on to learn about 7 games to play in the classroom with your students or explore ViewSonic Education Solutions.
Everyone loves to play, no matter their age. Games have been used in classrooms to grab students’ attention, reiterate knowledge and provide inclusive contexts to practice newly gained skills, language, and expertise. Classroom games educate in ways that allow students to forget they’re learning.
Pupils also absorb information without it being a chore and this is a win-win for everyone. In the past, the use of games within academic environments had too often been restricted to the final few days before the school holidays or for special ‘one-off’ lessons. Most contemporary classrooms embrace the exact opposite of this. Now, there’s a deep appreciation of how games can have genuine educational value.
While the various benefits of games are becoming more well-known, repeating the same games too often can reduce some of the advantages — and bore everyone involved. It’s vital that teachers are equipped with several adaptable activities that they can easily turn to at any time. The inclusion of interactive whiteboard technology has helped with this, as both the board itself and the associated online capabilities can provide educators with the tools they’ll need to truly level up a lesson.
Keep reading to learn about seven of the very best whiteboard games for boosting learning outcomes.
The Value of Finding Games to Play with Students
Playing games with students can truly uplift both their mood and their grades. An article for Edutopia explains how a variety of studies have found that the use of games in the classroom improves student participation, enhances social and emotional learning, and even augments academic scores.
So why are games so effective? For one thing, they can help diversify or break up a lesson, which can be important for retaining students’ attention. Beyond this, and most importantly, games provide several different practical environments for students to apply the information they have learned, helping them to grasp their own level of knowledge retention and pinpoint the areas that need more focus.
Games also have the potential to appeal to different types of learners. For example, games that utilize an interactive whiteboard are likely to be visual which can assist visual learners in ways that reading from a textbook or writing essays will not. Furthermore, if there is an incentive, such as a reward, many students are more likely to pay attention during a lesson and put more effort into retaining the information. Not only do they stand the chance to win the game, but they also receive peer recognition for doing so.
4 Classic Whiteboard Games to Play in the Classroom
If many games can be played on a good old analog whiteboard, an interactive whiteboard, such as ViewBoard, can facilitate a number of classic games and also add entertainment. After all, these boards combine multimedia and stylus support with screen-sharing functionality and the ability to utilize and adapt PowerPoint presentations.
Among hundreds of possibilities, these four classic whiteboard games are sure to transform any lesson into an educational fun fest:
Casino can be played in any classroom with an interactive whiteboard. Begin by dividing the class into teams and give each team a certain amount of imaginary money. This starting amount could be, for example, $20, $100, or $500.
Using a regular or an interactive whiteboard, display a series of sentences, statements, or facts. Depending on the topic being taught, these could be historical facts, math formulas, statements about literature, or anything else that needs to be covered. Make sure some of the presented statements are true, and some are false.
For each statement that appears, each team must bet a certain amount of their money on whether it’s true or false. Teams that guess correctly then add that amount to their total, while teams that guess incorrectly lose the amount they bet from their total. At the end of the game, the team with the most money wins.
In addition to allowing teachers to gauge current levels of understanding within a class, a game of Casino can also help to build teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills, while assisting with knowledge retention. This is a great way to reiterate knowledge learned in class and assist students in using the information in context and in play.
Based on the famous television game show, Jeopardy utilizes a game board with six categories, each of which has five clues. The clues are given a value, based on difficulty level. Low-value clues are easier and high-value clues are more difficult. The person or team guessing will choose the category and value, and try to answer, based on the clue they are given. A correct answer adds the value to their total, while an incorrect answer deducts the value.
If an individual player or team guesses correctly, they’re then able to pick another category and value and repeat the process, building up their total points. If they answer incorrectly or fail to answer at all, the other players or teams can ‘buzz in’ and answer the clue instead.
Optional elements include Double Jeopardy rounds and Daily Doubles, while a Final Jeopardy question can also be asked. Ultimately, the player or team with the most money (or points) at the end of the final round is the winner.
If you’re looking for a ready-to-use template for in-class Jeopardy games, you can find one here. The template is ideal for use with up to six players or six different teams. Information on the slides can be edited so that it is relevant to the lesson being taught. The template also includes real-time score calculation, a question timer, and other valuable features to use on an interactive whiteboard.
Pictionary is a classic, charades-inspired drawing game and is one of the easiest whiteboard games to set up within a classroom. One person draws on the whiteboard while the remainder of the class guesses what is being drawn. The class can be divided into teams, but the game also works well with the entire group guessing what is being drawn on the whiteboard.
For educational purposes, the rules should specify that the student drawing the image must draw a picture that is relevant to the topic being taught. For example, in a science class, a student could opt to draw an anatomical part, a cell, or a diagram related to the lesson at hand. In an English class, a student may choose to illustrate words from the vocabulary list or an object from a scene or novel.
The student drawing the picture must not provide any verbal clues and must not write any words on the board. When other students successfully guess what is being drawn, it’s then their turn to draw.
Pictionary is a great game for boosting student engagement in a modern classroom, and can be played for a longer time or relatively quickly. This means Pictionary can form the basis of a lesson or serve as a simple recap tool near the end of a class. It can help students to retain information and may be beneficial for visual and kinesthetic learners.
4. Hot Seat
A game of Hot Seat can be a great way to introduce dynamics to a classroom while also allowing the teacher to observe the ways in which students understand and explain concepts to one another. In order to play, all that is required is the interactive whiteboard, some slides with either a word or picture on them, and a chair, which should be positioned at the front of the room, facing away from the whiteboard and towards the rest of the students in the class.
Students take turns to be placed in the ‘hot seat’, where they must guess the word that appears on the board, which they are unable to see. The rest of the class must try to describe or explain what is on the board without using that word or stating what it sounds like or rhymes with.
In larger classes, this concept can be expanded into a team-based version of the game. Here, the teacher positions multiple hot seats in front of the whiteboard — one for each team. The teams take turns to provide a description, and the first student in a hot seat who correctly guesses the word on the whiteboard wins a point for their team. After each successful guess, the team adds a point to their total and a new student takes the hot seat.
This team-based approach can help to add a sense of competitive fun to the game, encouraging students to take more care with their descriptions of each word on the board as they compete with other groups.
3 Games to Play in the Classroom with an Interactive Whiteboard
In addition to these four classic whiteboard games, there are also many online games that can be played in the classroom, and most of them find their way to the interactive whiteboard. The good thing about those is that they usually come in bundles and are found on dedicated sites. Here are 3 of the best interactive whiteboard game hubs:
1. ViewSonic Originals — Animal Kingdom
When it comes to finding online games to play in the classroom, ViewSonic Originals is a great place to start. It’s fully compatible with ViewBoard and the myViewBoard platform as a whole and includes video-assisted learning and educational online gaming content spanning a wide range of topics and difficulty levels.
There are options to cater to every level, from kindergarten and preschool children, right up to 11th and 12th grade. The games also focus on a wide range of subjects, including Arts and Humanities, Mathematics, Science, Geography, and more. For example, with “Animal Kingdom” students answer different questions about the world of animals and if they answer correctly they move along the illustrated scoring track.
All the contents can be easily found through filters. Simply select the right subject and the right grade, and they will then be presented with every online game that is relevant to their selection.
2. Funbrain — The Human Body
Funbrain is a website that hosts a variety of online games for children which can be played online using an interactive whiteboard so that the entire class can participate or observe the fun.
It offers hundreds of interactive online games, as well as videos and printable materials, which can be used to enhance lessons or to inject a sense of fun into the classroom. When teachers open up a game, they will also be able to see tags explaining what subjects the game can best assist with. For example, “The Human Body” explains all systems, like skeletal or nervous in our bodies, and helps identify where each body organ belongs.
Funbrain offers games for children from pre-kindergarten all the way up to 8th grade. At the bottom of the website, teachers will find links that make it easy to navigate, based on the grade they are teaching.
3. Studio.Code — Game Lab
Finally, Studio.Code is a computer science website that aims to teach students crucial skills as part of their core K-12 education. Within the website, there is a Game Lab, which allows students to put what they have learned to the test. Essentially, this serves as a programming environment, entirely handled through a web browser.
Using the Game Lab, students and teachers will be able to make simple games — or edit existing templates — using objects and characters that can interact. This teaches core design principles while allowing students to explore their creative side and ultimately produce a working game that can be enjoyed within the classroom.
Once a project has been completed it can be shared with others around the world. Of course, this also means the Studio.Code platform contains games that others have previously created, and these can be found within the ‘Projects’ section of the website. This can be ideal for when a quick and easy gaming session is the order of the day.
Incorporating play in the classroom can be a great way to enhance lessons, boost student engagement, and test knowledge and understanding at key moments. The seven options listed in this article can all be easily played, as long as you have an interactive whiteboard and an internet connection.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like reading Technology in the Classroom: The Complete Guide or go explore ViewSonic Originals to find games fit for your lessons.