Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strategies for Implementing Video Games in the Classroom

The idea of using video games as part of a learning experience is something that is becoming ever more popular with educators today mainly because the amount of students who actually utilize video games outside of school life is pretty substantial. It also gives the educator the opportunity to present his/her material in a much more captivating way. Let's face it, how boring is it to have to constantly read pages of text to then answer questions, over and over? It's sucks! Video games put a spin on that "boring" approach and actually makes learning fun.

However great it sounds one has to approach incorporating video games into the classroom with caution. There are many pitfalls with video games that can turn a great learning experience into a disaster and so it is essential that as an educator you do enough pre-planning and research as possible. For instance, one has to first realize that incorporating video games in a learning environment is not quick, easy, or inexpensive; that games are not a Panacea for Technology-Based Learning; that any game can/should be used for problem-solving and motivation. (Gikas, Eck)

The reality is that incorporating games into the classroom can be difficult and so it becomes imperative that you do your homework prior to doing so. Games are not for all topics, learners, or environments. In addition to this video games in the class can only be successful if it has content integrated with the game.

So how do you do this? Well, Joanne Gikas and Richard Van Eck, PH.D. from the University of Memphis have put together a great pdf entitled, " Guidelines for Planning and Implementing the Use of Commercial Games for Learning," which has a detailed approach to incorporating video games in the classroom as a learning tool.

This pdf can be accessed at:

The great thing about the Gikas and Eck guidelines is that it really makes clear that implementing video games in the classroom is just not as easy as it sounds and that a lot of thoughtful thinking in to how one is going to incorporate lesson plan objectives alongside a video game is very much needed.

God of War for Greek Mythology?


Age of Empire's, Civilization for History?

Which one to use? How to use? Will it work?

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