Video Games in Education

Can video games really be educational?

More and more people are saying yes! Teachers, students and researchers are finding ways in which video games increase engagement and learning. For newbies, the stuff below can jump start your learning about games. And for experienced gamer / educators, you'll also find some cool goodies!


Using the Technology of Today in the Classroom Today
Provides compelling reasons to incorporate technologies like games, simulations, and social networking into the classroom and strategies to overcome potential barriers

A site by Marc Prensky dedicated to improving the understanding of the positive things kids are learning from video games
 An Anatomy of Games
A paper that address the different components of games in general and why playing games of any kind is good for the brain
 How Games Lead Kids to the Good Stuff: Understanding Context
It's not about content, it's about context
 Artificial Wisdom
Claims to provide video / computer game ratings designed to help educators and parents make reasoned decisions



Gaming Research

Before Every Child is Left Behind: How Epistemic Games Can Solve the Coming Crisis in Education
"Epistemic games help kids learn in a way that sticks, because they learn in the process of doing things that matter." (pdf)
Choosing Good Video Games for Your Kids
Nice article by the Media Awareness Network
Computer Games & Learning
Can we talk about computer games and learning in the same breath?
Computer Games in Education Project
British research agency
Entertainment Software Association
Facts & research
Games Students Play
A May 2007 District Administration article discussing the Making History game
Harnessing the Power of Games in the Classroom (pdf)
An InSight article describing how to integrate games into instruction

The Learning Game - Researchers Study Video Gaming Principles that Apply to Education
Another interview with James Paul Gee
Game Research
Gives an overview of research, news and development in the computer games area
Games & Education Research Network
Research that includes the relevance of games to curriculum & support mechanisms
The Beautiful Learning Wiki
A nice bibliography of research and articles

Federation of American Scientists
Published a year-long study on the use of video games in education. Conclusion? Teachers need to be using games as part of instruction
Moving Learning Games Forward
Takes a look at the gaming landscape, both learning games and commercial games, and makes recommendations to a broad range of stakeholders

"Gaming Advances as a Learning Tool"
eSchool news article
Let the Games Begin!
Video games, once confiscated in class, are now a key teaching tool
Playing to Learn: State of the Art Computer Games Go to School
An August 2005 Cable in the Classroom article (pdf)
Playtime in the Classroom
Can children really learn anything useful from computer games?
Research on Gaming
A series of research resources on gaming in education
Teaching with Games: Guidance for Teachers (pdf)
Designed by FutureLabs to help teachers integrate games into their instruction

Using Civilization Simulation Video Games in the World History Classroom
Discusses why it is important to recognize that Civilization III, the Age of Empires series, and Rise of Nations can have a huge impact on student understanding of history
Video Games?
A transcript of an interview by the Chronicle of Higher Education with James Paul Gee
Video Games & Violence?
Results from the first long-term study of online videogame playing may be surprising
The Video Game Revolution
Follow the journey of video games from university laboratories to our living rooms
Institute of Play Research Library
They read papers, reports, articles and books to stay abreast of new findings & post them here
Education Arcade Bibliography
A great bibliography by some folks at MIT

Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education
The readings page from a MIT OpenCourseWare course

 Gaming Resources

Children's Technology Review
Describes the products that are available from an educational perspective
Common Sense Media
A great site for finding and reviewing appropriate video games. Search by age, platform or title
Education Arcade
Represents a consortium that is exploring the new frontiers of educational media
Epistemic Games
Epistemic games revolutionize the ongoing debate about the pros and cons of digital learning
Resources for Parents from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board
Gamer Dad
"Why do Kids Love Games? Are Games Harmful? You'll find the answers here. At GamerDad, we believe in Gaming with Children"
Great Games Experiment
Social network site for gamers
Learning Games Initiative
The purpose is to examine games in order to better understand their cultural and pedagogical import
A great site for parents with games organized by age, platform & by subject
Mark Pensky's site
Writer, game designer and speaker. Lots of links and articles concerning gaming and learning
MetaCritic Games
Nice site for real reviews and ratings for tons of games
Mr. MacKenty
Dedicated to the effective use of technology in schools, and games in education
Social Studies Software
Water Cooler Games
A forum for the uses of videogames outside the sphere of entertainment
What They Play
Parents guide to video games providing expert insight into the themes and content of hundreds of games
World History and Civilization III
TeacherTube video that demostrates how one school is using the game Civ III in the classroom
Games / Parents / Teachers
Companion site for the book, "Don't Bother Me, Mom -- I'm Learning"
What They Play
Empowers parents with everything they need to know to make informed decisions about what games are right for their children

  Games, Software & Tools

The list of online games, simulations and video games is almost endless. The sites listed below provide a taste of what's available. Check out my Delicious links or go to my video game presentation page for specific game suggestions.

Some new online problem-solving, positive-impact type games for social studies classrooms are becoming available. Try Trading Around the World, Adventure Ecology, Dafur is Dying and Global Warming Interactive.

America's Army
The US military uses constantly uses video games in its training. This site is one of the busiest sites on the Web
Club Penguin
A "fun, safe place" for young kids to experience 3-D worlds
A turn-based, multiplayer strategy game that takes place on a map of medieval Europe
Discover Babylon
Engage 8-14 year-olds in mysteries that can only be solved through developing an understanding of Mesopotamian society
Food Force
United Nations sim to recreate their attempts to deliver food to disaster areas
A free version of the Civilizations game
Kongregate Games
A new social network for mini-games
Life Preservers
Teaches about evolution & adaptation based on National Science Standards
Making History
A great game for HS US & World history classes
Online Games
Online games that offer a "good experience"
Pax Warrior
Weaves the tragic story of the UN experience in Rwanda placing the user, first person, in the shoes of a UN Commander trying to maintain peace
Real Lives
A unique, interactive life sim that enables you to live one of billions of lives in any country in the world
Free 3-D world to explore
Sandlot Games
An example of the type of games available for younger kids

Second Life
A 3D world in which you can interact with others, buy and sell, create new worlds, the list is endless. SecondLife also comes in a "safe" teen version / Check out this info on a virtual SecondLife library! / Another SL library suitable for educational use / The Global Kids Online Initiative is also in SL. Other SL stuff? Second Life Education
You're in charge of running the International Space Station
StageCoach Island
A great game to teach econ!
Can you
Stop Disasters? Cool flash simulation site useful for teaching economics & geography
Venture Africa / Venture Artic
Two games where player has to balance ecosystems
Outsmart the weather in a sailing race around the world! Created by Cable in the Classroom, Discovery, the Weather Channel and NASA
Tribal Wars
A free game creating a medieval village and protect it
Virtual Knowledge
Simulations like Ancient Egypt, Settling America & Virtual Sports Business

Game Creation Tools
Star Logo
Game creation software (free version / PC)
Game Maker
Game creation software (free version / full version / PC)
Game creation software (free demo / Mac / PC)
Power Game Factory
Game creation software (free / Mac)
A programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories and share your creations
Video Game Development
Amanda Hefner of Dessau Middle School in Pflugerville, TX maintains this tutorial page for game development


Print Materials

Aldrich, Clark. Simulations and the Future of Learning
Aldrich, Clark. Games And Simulations in Online Learning: Research And Development Frameworks
Anderson, Craig. Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy
Beck, John C. and Mitchell Wade. Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever
Dubenitz, Joel. The Physical and Emotional Experience of Violence in Video Games
Egeler, Daniel. Mentoring Millennials: Shaping the Next Hero Generation
Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
Gee, James Paul. Why Video Games Are Good for Your Soul
Gopnick, Alison, Andrew N. Meltzoff, and Patricia K. Kuhl. The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, and How Children Learn
Herz, J. C. Joystick Nation: How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts and Rewired Our Minds
Howe, Neil and William Strauss. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation

Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter
Johnson, Steven. Mind Wide Open
Lawrence Kutner & Cheryl Kutner.
Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Video Games
Loftus, Geoffrey, and Elizabeth R. Loftus. Mind at Play: The Psychology of Video Games
Prensky, Marc. Digital Game-Based Learning
Prensky, Marc. Don't Bother Me, Mom - I'm Learning!
Schank, Roger. Virtual Learning
Shaffer, David WIlliamson. How Computer Games Help Children Learn
Stoll, Clifford. High Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don't Belong in the Classroom and Other Reflections by a Computer Contrarian
Tapscott, Don. Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation
Vorderer, Peter. Playing Video Games: Motives, Responses, and Consequences

50 Books for Everyone in the Gaming Industry
Nice list if you're serious (and maybe not serious!)
about learning more about games & gaming