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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.
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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

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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

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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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Narukami's picture
Substitute Teacher - History/Social Studies, Japanese Theatre

Here is another site that might proved useful to History / Social Studies teachers looking to incorporate games into their classroom:

Mark Collard's picture
Mark Collard
Experiential Trainer, author & keynote speaker. Founder & director of playmeo

Unabashed self-promotion here, but teachers can access tons of free group-based games and activities at - almost all of the exercises come with video tutorials and lesson plans, to make it real easy to integrate into your curriculum... :-)

Gamesforlanguage's picture
Games for foreign language learning

We may be prejudiced, but our story-based language courses and Quick Games on make practicing fun! We are looking for feedback, what features we should add to make the courses useful and effective for teachers in the classroom.'s picture

Game based learning very helpful for students , it's easy to understand and they never felt bore and they can learn with fun.

Anuar Andres Lequerica's picture
Anuar Andres Lequerica
Educational Games and Online Learning

Many serious games databases are just list of games but there's not a sense of which ones are good. After years of reviewing and searching, I can recommend these lists/databases:

-First Place
(the ExtraCredits team is composed of gamers that analyse and reflect on games very intelligently).
(a terrific list from the MIT Game Lab).

-Second Place
(Graphite/Common Sense Media have a huge games-for-learning database but most of their reviewers seem to not be gamers, so I get the sense that they don't review the games very deeply).
(Good list , although I don't recognize some of the games.)
(Another good database, with guides on how to increase learning for each game.)

Let me know if you have found any great lists/databases of games-for-learning.

Chrissy DiMarco's picture

I love the idea of game based learning! Minecraft is so popular with my fourth graders. I never though to incorporate it into the classroom. Minecraft is STEM, and project based enhances student engagement. Why not use it in the classroom?

Chrissy DiMarco's picture

I remember playing the Oregon Trail when I was in elementary school. Back in the 90's it was a CD-ROM game, but now you can play free here: . Our curriculum covers Westward Migration and this is a great application and extension. It promotes problem solving in a fun interactive game. Getting to the end of the game where you have to move your wagon to avoid the rocks was the most exciting thing! Game based learning has been around for years. Now I am inspired to find more opportunities and uses for the classroom.

Ruslana's picture

Game based learning can help to increase students' motivation to any subject. Video games are cause a lot of problems for current teachers and parents. But instead of rejecting and fighting them, we can use them to educate our children. That's a great article. Thank you.

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