Unit 3: Integrating Educational Video Games in the Classroom


ETAP_623_Spring_2021_(Byrne) |Rawan Abdelaal's Portfolio Page | Integrating Educational Video Games

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand when to implement educational video games in your own classroom
  • Understand why implementing educational video games is important
  • Understand how to implement educational video games

Recap of Unit 2: James Paul Gee, the gaming expert, shares insights into why video games are such effective learning tools.

3.1 Introduction

After learning about the benefits of educational video games and the characteristics of a good educational video game, we arrive at the question of how can we implement educational video games in our curriculum? How do we incorporate game-based learning for maximum benefit as well as when and where in the curriculum? Also, what about class management, how do we manage the environment of the class and students while playing the game?

In this unit, we will answer all these questions and provide a guideline and tips that instructors can follow when deciding to select and implement an educational video game.

VideojuegosEducacion EN.jpg

3.2 Incorporation of Educational Video Games

How to implement EVGs?

There are many strategies and ways for educators to incorporate game-based learning and EVGs into their curriculum and classroom. Mathew Farber (2016) describes 3 ways that teachers can follow to implement game-based learning:

  1. Games as shared Experience: where the EVGs selected plays more on experience, giving students the feel of being on a field trip. Like a field trip, students are first given instructions on what to expect and are then given freedom to explore an out-of-school location. And then back in the classroom, instructors facilitate and emphasize the connections of the game to the curriculum. These games, provide meaning for students. Farber uses the example of Mine Craft where he has students build structures and “When night comes and creepers attack, only the students who stayed in fortified structures survive. After play, we discuss the difficulties of setting up a colony in a hostile environment, like Jamestown. Students understand the dangers of settling new worlds because they have experienced them” (Farber, 2016).
  2. Games as text: These games allow users to decide the fate of the game. The game is built on a template uses player choice to tell a story. These include Examples include Firewatch, an open-world game about being a park ranger; Life Is Strange, an emotional tale of friendships and bullying at a private school; Her Story, a nonlinear, police procedural whodunit; and 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, a political thriller set in the Iranian Revolution. Each game tells a story. 2017 will bring even more narrative-driven games, like Walden, a Game, based on Henry David Thoreau’s book, and Ever, Jane, a multiplayer game that takes place in the universe of Jane Austen. (As with all commercial media, research first to find out appropriateness for your learners.) Assessing learning with these games, educators can use Office 365 or Google Docs. For example, English literature teacher Paul Darvasi has his students play the point-and-click exploration game Gone Home, which is about a dysfunctional family. Set in 1995, the game uses literary devices like mood, tone, and theme. He has students take screenshots as evidence and add them to a shared document. Collected screenshots later lead to projects like comparing reviews and then writing their own.
  3. Games as Models: These games are built on model real-world systems. They give students the opportunity to create their own models within the game. Farber states that he makes students play Werewolf, and dicuss “different actions that mirror the events of the Salem witch trials, McCarthyism, and other witch hunts. I also have students play the board game Pandemic, as well as the mobile game Plague, Inc. These games illustrate how diseases travel the interconnected networks of the world. Students learn how the bubonic plague traveled along the Silk Road.” (Farber, 2016). He states that these games model causes that have effects, which subsequently have effects that teaches the 21st-century skill of systems thinking.

More recourses on implementation of EVGs

Carol Rawlings Miller “How to Use Games to Build Community in Distance Learning” https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-use-games-build-community-distance-learning

Amanda Armstrong “ Game-Based Learning in Middle School Math https://www.edutopia.org/article/game-based-learning-middle-school-math

Paul Darvasi “Exploring Ancient History with Video Games” https://www.edutopia.org/article/exploring-ancient-history-video-games

Teachers also can create their own form of EVGs by creating learning games in Google Classroom:

When and why implement EVGs?

You must remember that game-based learning and EVGs are tools that should supplement/facilitate your pedagogy, they are not the teacher. When using these techniques in your classroom, do not grade play, instead assess the learning transfer that has been facilitated from the game experience to the curriculum. Therefore, choosing to implement EVGs should come as a reason to enhance content delivery and comprehension as well as motivate students to understand complex theories/content in a mind engaging and challenging manner.

Here are 10 reasons as to why to implement EVGs in the classroom:Italic text

  1. Promote technology exploration
  2. Develop problem-solving skills
  3. Develop educational mastery and complete tasks in a logical manner
  4. Develop reasoning and complexity thinking
  5. Develop fine motor skills
  6. Build interest in STEAM fields
  7. Teach Students basic programming
  8. Develop confidence and social skills
  9. Learn Collaboration skills
  10. Emphasize also individualized learning

What can schools learn from video games?

Ibrahim, A et al (2012) provide further guidelines on incorporating EVGs: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273210149_Playability_Guidelines_for_Educational_Video_Games

3.3 Unit 3 Activity

Back to your lesson outline.

To your lesson plan, provide reasons as to why you will implement EVGs, and how do you plan on structuring your lessons. This outline will serve as your guideline for your final project.

Please create this in Google Docs and share it to rabdelaal@albany.edu.

3.4 Unit 3 Reflection Task

For this unit's reflection task, discuss, in your opinion the importance of implementing game-based learning. Could there be complications to this process? if so, what would they be?

Please write your reflection in this Google Docs File: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Yxa31gzlXjki4rohpr09fwLohdcFPJ-90FyIKIEgyrc/edit?usp=sharing

Click here Unit 4: Exploring Educational Video Games to navigate to the next unit of this course.


Ibrahim, A., Vela, F. L. G., Rodríguez, P. P., Sánchez, J. L. G., & Zea, N. P. (2012). Playability guidelines for educational video games: A comprehensive and integrated literature review. International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 2(4), 18-40.

Farber, M (2016) 3 ways to use Game-based Learning, Edutopia

Ham, H (2021) 2 Ways to Bring Games into Your Classroom, Edutopia

Aviles, C (2018) How to Integrate and manage Video Games in Your Classroom, Teached Up Teacher

Annetta, L. A. (2008). Video games in education: Why they should be used and how they are being used. Theory into practice, 47(3), 229-239