As the 2015 homeschool conference approaches, we’ll be featuring guest posts from conference exhibitors such as this one, MidAmerica Nazarene University. The MPE board does not endorse any exhibitor, but aims to present information that families can research and determine whether any product or service is worthwhile. We advise doing your due diligence with any product or service.
Games can work as powerful engines for teaching and learning. Games can introduce topics, facilitate learning, and sponsor critical reflection after game play has concluded.
Games can also teach 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation.
Tabletop games bring us together in ways that digital technologies cannot do. Today’s researchers tend to focus their attention on the educational power of digital games.
However, digital games are relatively expensive to use and complicated to utilize. In addition, they separate us as much as they bring us together. In contrast, tabletop games provide us with adaptable, accessible experiences that bring us face to face with each other.
This year, MidAmerica Nazarene University launched a Center for Games and Learning in order to serve its homeschool, public school, university, and librarian partners, with a $20,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Nine professors across the curriculum are using tabletop games to teach subjects from composition and theology to economics and science.
Here’s how the Center for Games and Learning can benefit MPE families who want to enrich their curriculum through game play:
1. Lending Library: We want MPE families to check out our games for home use! The Center currently holds approximately 50 titles and 100 copies. By the end of September 2015, the Center will hold approximately 300 titles and 600 copies. Come on by the MNU Mabee Library today in order to pick up your community card!
2. Game Nights: This Friday, April 17, the MNU Mabee Library will be open 7-10 p.m. for its monthly game night. Feel free to bring your own games, or try some of ours! This month features three copies of PitchCar (ages 6+) – a disc-flicking racing game around a long track with curves, straightaways, ramps, and tunnels!
3. Consultation: The Center for Games and Learning staff wants to teach homeschool families, classroom teachers, librarians, and age-level pastors how to design or adapt games for learning. Please email the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries. We will be glad to talk with you!
4. Summer Conference: On July 31, the Center for Games and Learning is offering an all-day $11 workshop (lunch and snacks included) to equip teachers, librarians, homeschool parents, and age-level pastors for the exciting work of game-based learning! The Conference will be held at the MNU Bell Cultural Events Center.
Please visit the Center for Games and Learning booth at the 2015 MPE Conference. At the Center, we want to serve MPE families by offering helpful resources in a no-cost or low-cost way. We hope to see you at the 2015 MPE Conference!
Dr. Mark Hayse is Professor of Christian Education, specializing in youth ministry. He also directs the undergraduate Honors Program. Prof. Lauren Hays is Instructional and Research Librarian at the MNU Mabee Library.
MNU’s Center for Games & Learning is funded through a grant (SP-02-14-0038-14) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. They provide leadership through research, policy, development, and grant making.