Game-based learning: effective teaching driven by play

Game-based learning: effective teaching driven by play

In this digital age, where parents frequently vent their frustration over the amount of time their children are spending on devices, the idea of game-based learning in school might seem rightly questionable. Games are all too often associated with leisure and play rather than academic drive and therefore a ‘gaming’ approach in school might well raise eyebrows.

Game-based learning and training has long been used in aviation, the healthcare industry and the military – and it should therefore come as no surprise that the education system has started to adopt the same approach.  Games are powerful motivators and integrating them into education gives teachers another tool in their resource box to get students learning – and more importantly to want to learn.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges facing teachers today, is being able to keep their students interested and focused.   Traditional teaching methods only encourage passive engagement, such as learning by rote, or copying down notes as a teacher speaks. Even if a student successfully retains the facts that they have been told in the classroom, their behaviour in real life situations remains ‘untested’.

For game-based learning to be effective, students work towards a goal, choosing actions and experiencing the consequences of those actions along the way.  They make mistakes in a risk-free setting and, through experimentation, they actively learn and practice the right way to do things.  These learned behaviours and thought processes can be easily transferred from the simulated world to real life.  Game-based learning platforms draw the individual into virtual environments that look and feel familiar and relevant.  This in itself is motivational, as it allows us to quickly see and understand the connection between the learning experience and our real-life work.

The use of games in the classroom enables teachers to reach out to a new generation of learners with a medium that they are familiar with and can relate to.  Gaming offers students the chance to learn at their own pace and it creates an intrinsic motivation to learn more – you have to keep learning to get to the next level and earn the next reward.  Games consist of interactive play that teaches us goals, rules, adaptation, problem solving, interaction, all represented as a story. They satisfy our fundamental need to learn by providing enjoyment, passionate involvement, structure, motivation, ego gratification, adrenaline, creativity, social interaction and emotion in the game itself, while the learning takes place.

Gooseberry Planet uses game-based learning to teach children in primary schools how to be safe online.  We provide a fun, multi-sensory and immersive learning environment where children face real life online scenarios and learn how to navigate the internet safely and responsibly.  The different game levels take students through a diverse range of topics covering all aspects of E-Safety from online bullying, social media, privacy settings and people online to sexting, radicalisation and grooming.  These are real-world issues that need addressing at grass roots level in order to prepare children for the transition to a life online, both in secondary schools and beyond.

Gooseberry Planet understands the need to keep children engaged and motivated.  The award-winning platform cleverly utilises bright visuals and catchy soundtracks to help children absorb information and maintain focus.  They learn through observation and experimentation, whilst simultaneously building on their fine motor skills and gaining independence, since students can play the game at their own pace.

From a teacher’s perspective, game-based learning allows awkward and complex topics to be presented in an informal and less threatening way, without losing the impact of key messages.  This is crucial as far as teaching Online Safety is concerned, since it is a subject that is unfamiliar to many members of staff, who do not feel adequately trained to deliver such lessons.  The ability for teachers to collate the students’ responses and results generated from the game is extremely valuable: it facilitates the analysis of class performance, comprehension and subject knowledge, from which they can tailor E-Safety lessons to meet the specific needs of their learners.


SAFE Masterclass with Smoothwall

SAFE Masterclass with Smoothwall

As part of Smoothwall Association for Education, we’re partnering up with Smoothwall and the Police Cyber Crime Unit to host a Masterclass Roadshow visiting six locations across the UK in 2018. The Masterclasses will provide updated expert advice, best industry practice and information to anyone responsible for keeping children safe online.

Expert speakers will provide insight into the rising cybersecurity challenges currently faced in Education, how to effectively safeguard and promote online safety, and how you can comply with Government lelegislation, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2018).

The final masterclass of the year will take place in London on the 17th October 2018 at:

Broadway House
Tothill Street

For more information and to register for your free place, click the link below:


We spend so much time worrying about how children are using social media when our staff could be a bigger problem.

We spend so much time worrying about how children are using social media when our staff could be a bigger problem.

71% of teachers use Facebook daily for personal use, followed by Google + (33 percent), Pinterest (32 percent), Instagram (27 percent) and Twitter (18 percent).

Schools expect teachers to teach a subject with limited knowledge.  Like our students shouldn’t we be teaching staff how to use their own social media, which can then be translated to your school and students.  It is time to change the way we deliver online safety and make it more meaningful with impact rather than an hour’s lesson here and there.

Find out how a Gooseberry Guru gives training on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp for staff and students.  Find out about our LinkedIn workshop for 15-18 year olds.

The reality is we are ALL using social media, it time to educate the whole school community on HOW to use it.