Games in the classroom

It is very inspiring to learn from this week’s reading materials that games (i.e., video games and role playing games) can contribute to student learning. Games are not only designed for fun. They can motivate and actively engage learners in the learning processs, and kills utilized in games can be translated to the real world. Thus, Game-Based learning and gamification get a lot of attention and are fast becoming used in the classroom (see more information about Game-Based learning from Jessica Trybus’s paper “Game-Based Learning: What it is, Why it Works, and Where it’s Going“). It seems like bringing games to the classroom might be an acceptable, even accredited, alternative strategy to education.

I would also like to share an interesting TED talk by Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world. According to McGonigal, if we can create engaging and fun games based on meaningful real world problems, we can leverage the combined knowledge, energy and enthusiasm to solve the world’s biggest problems and we can change the world.


10 thoughts on “Games in the classroom”

  1. Thanks for the post. I’m interested in the Ted Talk. I’ll take a look at it. However would you fully rely on gaming in the classroom? One of our colleagues had a post regarding why computer time on a non-stop basis would be too much for kids… Do you agree with that? How would you strike a balance?

    1. Actually, our classes don’t use games, we use project-based learning approach. I hate to sit in front of computer for a long time and I agree the bad sides. But we can still take advantage of game-based learning approach. We need to practice to mix different approaches and it also depends on subjects.

  2. Games have been a great way to solve some very large problems even in the academic community. An example is the foldit game ( in which you solve puzzle based on protein folding. The solutions to this particular game have a real world impact on science! Who would have thought it would be possible to crowd source protein folding through a game?

  3. Thanks for sharing!

    In the Journal of Engineering Education you’ll find a lot of resources regarding game-based learning. It seems that is has become a hot topic in my field in the last years, and always with positive outcomes.

    To Sarah’s point, I do agree that is not easy to find a balance. But let me tell you that as a parent of 2 children, in this days they will be exposed to screen time. In my house I try to make some rules to make sure that they also play outside and do other things, but the screen time needs to happen every day, it’s a part of their generation. So if they are having some screen time every day, isn’t it better to take some advantage of it and get some education as well?


  4. I completely agree that games can enhance learning if specifically designed to do so! I definitely feel like a hybrid of games and learning by other means would be optimal. I know screen time is inevitable! However, I am definitely a supporter of limiting the time the kids spend inactive in front of a monitor. But, also don’t certain video games take out learning through human to human interaction? They take out the opportunity to learn and explore with your peers. So I think there should be a good mix of both video games and other exploration activities.

  5. I am all for games, and would be very interested in how the “Reacting to the Past” game works. It seems very successful. How it works on classical texts really intrigues me and how it pushes students to engage in dialogue that they may not do otherwise. It makes the text come to life, demonstrating how people in the past struggled over decisions we continue to struggle with today. Hopefully a class video, syllabus, or homework assignment on how this actually works will come through. If you know one, please share!

  6. I really appreciated your post. I think that games are one of the best ways to get people interested in a subject. I think a little competition handled improperly can lead to students feeling like “winners” or “losers”; but competition handled properly can be a little push towards excellence for everyone. I think it can be a tough thing to do properly in certain group dynamics and that’s why I really believe games like any other teaching tool need to be tailored to the individual classroom. So I agree with you and the reading that games have a lot of potential in the classroom.

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