WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Game-Based Learning: Resource Roundup
Check out Edutopia's collection of articles, videos, and resources on using video games, simulations, and gaming concepts in the classroom.
Originally Published: July 11, 2011 | Updated: October 8, 2015
Games in the Classroom
- Interactive Fiction in the Classroom, by Matthew Farber (2015)
As a classroom tool, interactive fiction sharpens close reading and writing, and logical and critical thinking. It also reinforces systems- and design-thinking skills.
- Simulations Can Change the Course of History . . . Classes, by Matt Levinson (2014)
Levinson shares a professional-development tactic from master history teacher Eric Rothschild, describing how, by engaging his AP European history class in role play, he brought the subject to life for the students. For more on the use of simulations to teach the social sciences, you may also want to read Aaron Kaio’s "Civic Mirror: Simulated National Building for Middle Schoolers."
- Games in the Mathematics Classrooms: There’s an App for That! by Patrick Feeney (2014)
Feeney, an educational app developer, looks at what makes a good math gaming app and lists some of his favorite puzzles that engage students while teaching them effectively.
- March Madness Meets AP Lit, by Brian Sztabnik (2014)
Sztabnik uses the NCAA bracketing model to whip his AP Lit class into a literature-embracing frenzy as they rank their votes to determine the best poem or novel they've read all year.
- Video Games in the STEM Classroom, by Shawn Cornally (2012)
Cornally describes how he came to accept his students' passion for video games and channel some popular games into his STEM curriculum.
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Tips and Tools to Get Started
- A Guide to Game-Based Learning, by Vicki Davis (2014)
A quick look at game modalities can help you approach game-based learning via single- or multiplayer, one-time or persistent, game or simulation . . .
- Small, Safe Steps for Introducing Games to the Classroom, by Andrew Miller (2014)
To successfully introduce games into your classroom, play them first, make them voluntary, and think of them as tools for differentiation and building classroom culture.
- Using Gaming Principles to Engage Students, by Douglas Kiang (2014)
Improve your grasp of instructional design by looking at five game design dynamics and applying them to how you build curriculum and run your class.
- Game-Based Storytelling, Matthew Farber (2014)
Farber looks at video games as narratives, defines some game-development terms, and suggests a range of tools and activities for students to tell their own stories through the gaming medium.
- Free Tools to Incorporate Game-Based Learning, by Andrew Miller (2013)
Miller looks at a few of his favorite game-based learning tools -- the ones that cost nothing and are available right now.
- How to Build Curriculum Units Using the Video Game Model, by Andrew Miller (2011)
Miller offers some specific techniques for building a game structure across different subjects. For more guidance on how to build game-based learning units, also see his "Game-Based Learning Units for the Everyday Teacher."
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Using Games for Learning and Assessment
- Understanding Learner Outcomes Through Educational Games, by Kristen DiCerbo (2015)
A good educational game offers engagement, assessment, and learning, with the game data providing a valuable invisible assessment opportunity for students, teachers, and parents.
- 3 Ways Coding and Gaming Can Enhance Learning, by Douglas Kiang (2014)
Kiang, computer science teacher and edtech advocate, shows how the Inform7 language, the Minecraft game and the Maker-friendly Arduino kit can enhance learning in high school, middle school and elementary school classrooms.
- What Can Educators Learn From the Gaming Industry? by Kelly Teng (2014)
Teng and Cameron Baker, game developers with an interest in education, suggest that the gaming world can teach educators lessons about abstract thinking, enthusiastic engagement, and creative play in pursuit of knowledge.
- James Paul Gee on Learning With Video Games, by Edutopia Staff (2012)
Gaming expert Gee shares insights into why video games are such effective learning tools.
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Engaging Students With Innovative Programs
- Students as Designers: Game Jams! by Matthew Farber (2015)
The game jam (a game about making a game) is a hands-on model for inspiring student creativity, collaboration, and sense of accomplishment. In this post, Farber describes a student-focused game jam conducted at Quest to Learn, a school in New York City. For more about how you can use game jams to teach and assess 21st-century skills, focus on deeper learning, and present content, also read "Game Jam Your Classroom" by Andrew Miller.
- Meshing GBL With PBL: Can It Work? by Andrew Miller (2015)
When planning a PBL unit, use GBL elements to teach 21st-century skills, as a modality for lesson content, to differentiate instruction, or with games as products. For more tips and guidance on how to prepare for gamified PBL units, also see Heather Wolpert-Gawron's "Project-Based Learning and Gamification: Two Great Tastes That Go Together."
- Rubik to the Rescue: The Rubik’s Cube Engages Students in East Harlem, by Sabrina Truong (2014)
A fascinating 3D puzzle from the '70s breathes life into an inner-city high school as kids turn algorithms into a competitive sport.
- Katie Salen on the Power of Game-Based Learning, by Edutopia Staff (2013)
The executive director of the nonprofit design studio Institute of Play offers a look inside the groundbreaking school she co-founded, Quest to Learn. For related resources, check out "Made With Play: Game-Based Learning Resources."
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Games for Social Good
- Design Challenge: DIY Assistive Game Controllers, by Matthew Farber (2015)
Students, working as designers, can work together to determine how to outfit standard video games with assistive-technology tools that students of any ability can enjoy.
- Why Serious Games Are Not Chocolate-Covered Broccoli, by Matthew Farber (2014)
Farber talks about what Serious Gaming is (and isn't), who develops and promotes these amusing activities based on real-world concerns, and why we want our students to play them.
- Kurt Squire on Civic Engagement Through Digital Games, by Edutopia Staff (2013)
Squire, a game-based learning scholar, explores how leveraging young people's interest in gaming could encourage greater youth community involvement in civic and political life.
- Gaming for Social Good, by Matthew Farber (2013)
Farber explores some of the ways that playing games together -- with a positive purpose -- can effect change for the better.
- How Fourth Graders Are Achieving World Peace, by Homa Tavangar (2013)
Tavangar reflects on fourth grade teacher John Hunter's new book about his 30 years of teaching the World Peace Game.
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Straightforward Gamification Strategies
- 4 Best Practices in Implementing GBL, by Sam Patterson (2015)
For successful gamification, build the excitement, use the data you collect, make the game fun for all students, and never underestimate the value of play.
- Gaming the College Admissions Process, by Matthew Farber (2014)
College prep and admissions are serious business, but gamifying the process may just help middle and high school students understand the challenges and find solutions.
- Beyond the Worksheet: Playsheets, GBL, and Gamification, by Alice Keeler (2014)
Keeler introduces playsheets, gamified worksheet apps that sweeten skill-and-drill by increasing student self-efficacy through the challenge-and-reward model they associate with a gaming environment.
- Gamification in Education, by Vicki Davis (2014)
Davis and her high school students are exploring what makes games effective for classroom use. As of this blog, they've come up with six essential elements, but their task is far from complete.
- Gamifying Student Engagement, by Matthew Farber (2013)
Find out about the basics of gamification and how they can be used to engage students in a game-centric world. For more from Farber on gamification, be sure to see two other posts, "Beyond Badges: Why Gamify?" and "Badges and the Common Core."
- Gamestar Mechanic: Gamification Made Easy, by Andrew Proto (2013)
A middle school English teacher and former technology instructor discusses how Gamestar Mechanic can serve as a cool student-engagement tool.
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