Games have shown great promise for learning, but it’s not always easy to figure out the logistics of how to use them in class. Every student and teacher’s experience is unique and it takes time to calibrate and tinker to get the best out of the experience.
What’s more, using games might lead to something neither students or teacher anticipated — more work.
When it came to using the game Operation Lapis to learn Latin, the experience proved to be a mixed bag for students and teachers. In the game, students play the role of Romans in a reconstruction of ancient Pompeii (or ancient Rome) and have to learn to think, act, create and write like a Roman in order to win the game. Those are the same goals of any introductory Latin course.
After Kevin Ballestrini launched the game in his own class, ten other interested teachers decided to take a stab at using it in their classes. The prevailing conclusion? Students’ successes represent the environment and instructor as much as the game itself.