Unit Two: The learning outcomes associated with video games in the classroom.


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Unit Objectives

  • Participants will debate the impact video games have on learning outcomes
  • Participants will discuss the learning associated with gaming
  • Participants will apply video game learning objectives by creating a lesson plan

Background Knowledge


Some schools in the U.S. have already begun programs that bring video games into the classroom. Schools like Quest to Learn in NYC are incorporating video games and video game style learning activities into their curriculum in order to create 21st century learners. This unit will help you understand some of the learning outcomes associated with games as a learning tool.

Observation and Brainstorming: Watch the following video from the New York Times. Though it is a short video, observe the language that is being used by the educators and by the students.

Game Theory

  • Imagine you were observing this classroom?
  • What would your thoughts be, either bad or good, on the learning environment?
  • How would you describe the culture of the classroom?

What are the learning outcomes associated with video games as a learning tool?

Activity One: Game Theory

Two pioneers in the field of game theory are JP Gee and Katie Salen. They believe a couple of guiding principles. 1) Video games make for excellent learning environments and situations, and 2) Video game style learning increases motivation and helps prepare learners for the 21st centuries. JP Gee has written numerous essays on the subject (one of witch you will be reading) and Katie Salen designs games. She also created the Quest to Learn school that you saw in the NYTimes video. While the focus of this course is primarily playing video games, Katie Salen makes strong arguments for the creation of games as well, often with a games own built in modification tools.

Watch the following videos from Edutopia:

1. JP Gee explains the potential of using video games as a learning tool at a conference hosted by the organization Edutopia.

2. In a sit down, again with Edutopia, Katie Salen discusses not only the benefit of VG's, but also how video games utilize a type of learning system that can be applied to all learning.

Using the Group Spaces Forum again, discuss the questions offered by the Edutopia website (found under the Katie Salen video. Note that the Edutopia site also offers a small glossary to remind you of some key terms. Consider both videos and not just Katie's. Are their goals the same? Be sure to not only participate in your own thread, but to respond to at least two other participants and those that respond to you.


Discussion Questions

1. What are the benefits of kids learning to be designers?
2. Can games help kids build confidence? Why, or why not?
3. Is there educational value to video games? If so, share specific examples.
4. How can teachers and parents use the social nature of games to connect with kids?
5. How can games and game design principles be used in the larger curriculum, especially with assessment?
♦Pay close attention the question number five. While increasing motivation and helping to crate a more positive attitude are wonderful supporting goals for learning, can video games be used for "serious" learning?

Activity Two: Outcomes

Using the Group Spaces Forum again, discuss the questions below. What are the proposed outcomes of using gaming in the classroom? Be sure to not only participate in your own thread, but to respond to at least two other participants and those that respond to you.

Read Deep learning properties of good digital games: How far can they go? by JP Gee.


Read Games, Learning, and Assessment

Discuss the following questions:

  • How do JP Gee's six properties correspond with your own ideas of effective learning?
  • What are the relationships between both of the readings learning outcomes and the outcomes associated with "traditional" methods of learning?
  • Are the methods conducive to good learning?

Final Activity

Now you get to have a little fun! Most of the games that are being written about are big production titles or simulations created by universities and colleges for the purpose of creating learning environments. I would like to give you a small learning experience and a chance to apply what you have been reading about. The first thing you get to do is play a game. While you may all be educators, you undoubtedly teach different subjects. After careful consideration, I have decided to ask you all to play a civics game. While it technically is part of history curriculum, civics is something that we all should be familiar with. The game Executive Command is small, short, and focused, which does not necessarily reflect the involved games that teach more then just simple concepts, but I cannot ask you to engage with those types of games at this time. The scope and time commitment of a game like FreeCiv would make for a wonderful final activity, but may not be practical for this unit. This final activity has two parts.

♦ After playing, consider what you have learned.
♦ Considering what you have watched and read above create a list of the learning outcomes made possible by this game.
♦ What is the assessment value of this game?
  • For the second part of this activity, you are to create a lesson plan based on this game. The way that use the game and create you LP is entirely up to you.
♦ Your lesson plan should include
♦ The game
♦ Target Audience
♦ Learning objectives
♦ Some form of assessment (Formative, Summative)


Unit One: Why video games in the classroom?

Unit Three: Making the Argument

Works Cited

Gee, J. P. (2009). Deep learning properties of good digital games: how far can they go?. In U. Ritterfeld, M. Cody & P. Vorderer (Eds.), Serious Games: Mechanisms and EffectsRetrieved from http://www.jamespaulgee.com/sites/default/files/pub/Ritterfeld_C005.pdf

Shute, V. J., & Ke, F. (2012). Games, learning, and assessment. In D. Ifenthaler, D. Eseryel & X. Ge (Eds.), Assessment in Game-Based Learning: Foundations, Innovations, and Perspectives

Picture Credits

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2. video-game-kid.jpg

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