Technology is changing faster than ever. It is affecting the way in which our students learn and show interest in the classroom. Looking for ways to bridge the gap between the “out of touch” teacher and the tech-savvy student,  educators around the world are beginning to implement Game Based Learning (GBL) in their classroom and homework assignments. If you aren’t familiar with GBL, we very much encourage you to learn more about it by watching the session with Hyle Daley of Union City High School of New Jersey.

In this presentation, Daley discusses educational gaming and how to integrate it into your curriculum. Much thanks to Rabbi Meir Wexler for directing us to this wonderful and explanatory video.

A question that was recently posed to us here at was: “are we aware of any GBL examples, at a limudei kodesh level?”

After much research, we came across such an example. Rabbi Zach Swigard, a Rebbe at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy of Beverly Hills, California, had two of his young students, create the first ever Beit Hamikdash in Minecraft!

For those who are unfamiliar with Minecraft, it is an incredibly popular game that lets players explore, collect resources, and then build anything they can imagine. Or as Joel Levin, a second grade computer teacher, and author of the site  The Minecraft Teacher wrote, “think of it as 21st century online Legos that you can play with your friends.”

What educators love about Minecraft is summed up beautifully by Diana S. Korn who explains that, “if a player (or in this case a student) doesn’t know how to make something, they go onto Google and discover the Minecraft Wiki, endless amounts of Youtube tutorials, and a gaming community that is readily available to help. There is no right way of playing the game. Aside from introducing kids to spatial skills, geometry, engineering, architecture, mathematics, geography, etc., the game fosters critical thinking skills, teamwork, creativity, and exploration. Opening up Minecraft is like walking into a another world, one that you have to research, learn, and discover – much like anything else in the real world.”

Best of all, by using a the GBL method to teach Torah, you are able to convey the wisdom of Judaism is a non-threatening manner and allow the next generation to use their computer skills to connect with their heritage! You can view the amazing video that Rabbi Swigard’s students designed below:

We trust that all of the links here will serve as inspiration and will come in handy on many levels. If you are aware of other GBL examples that we should highlight, please let us know by leaving a note in the comments section below. In the meantime, enjoy this great infographic from OnlineSchools about GBL in the classroom, and consider what games you can use to get students engaged!







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