I am interested in knowing of any educational gaming that you have encountered that has made a difference in your classroom. I know that I am slow on the up take in this area, but a student brought in the game "Civilizations" and it seemed like a great way to hit some Social Studies standards. Has any one tried an endeavor such as this and if so, what was your experience?

Tags: gaming, interactive, learning, standards

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PS Google Kurt Squires - I know he has written extensively about using Civilization in the classroom, especially how to scaffold with reflective activities.
I googled him, found his email and emailed him - under the "it never hurts to ask"- theory. He recommended his civilization website with scenarios and curriculum.

I've read a little on James Paul Gee and what he says makes a lot of sense when it comes to mastery learning through Simulation Games. Kiddos are learning without even realizing and the motivation level amoungst kids and gaming is definitely something I want to tap into. I am thankful for the references and names you have given. It helps me probe further. I haven't ever built a game before or had students do so, but why not? I have heard a lot about Guitar Hero . . .does it teach actual musical chords? I haven't played it but I know a lot of college kids are going nuts over it.
Great questions, Tina!

More and more teachers are discovering that games and simulations do have a place in the classroom. I work as a tech integration / social studies specialist for an educational service center in central Kansas. We've been researching and playing with the idea for about a year now and I am convinced that teachers at all levels should be working to incorporate these kinds of tools into their instruction.

We asked seven HS teachers to pilot the use of a game called Making History during the 2006-2007 school year with fantastic results. One teacher said, "This is the best teaching tool that I have ever used." Student engagement, post-test scores and high-level questioning during classroom all went up. Teacher and student surveys were all very positive and encouraged us to continue the pilot on a larger scale which we are planning to do 2007-2008.

The Federation of American Scientists published a great paper last December documenting the rationale and need for more video games and sims K-12. Authors like Mark Prensky ("Don't Bother Me, Mom. I'm Learning"), Paul Gee ("What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Literacy & Learning"), Steven Johnson ("Everything Bad is Good for You"), John Beck ("Got Game"), Clark Aldrich ("Simulations & the Future of Learning") and David Shaffer ("How Computer Games Help Children Learn") are all saying the same thing: games do wonderful things to our brains!

We're working to compile resources, etc based on some training that we've done. Go to:
(be sure to click the link taking you to a more detailed page of video game links)

You can download the latest presentation at:

I would love to continue more discussion! You can contact me at:

Lots of relevant links ... including to some research at
Try game maker and let the students make games. Our Year 7 ( aged 11-12 ) have produced some fantastic stuff

Run a guild in school and use it as an essay on democracy!!
All sorts of ideas can flow from MMORPGs
Cool concept! How much classtime did it take?
If you want to try Game Maker, there is a very active group of teachers in Australia doing this with fantastic resources for classrooms.

I did a blog post about it a while back with links and details - Game-making with students - resources & rationale from Australia
Tappedin.org's 2007 Festival's free all-day event on Wednesday July 25th, is all about gaming in the classroom. It's called "Playing to Learn" and has interactive discussions about children creating their own games, using games in the classroom and more. You don't have to be a member of tappedin, but if you join (it's free) all the discussions in which you participate will be sent to you as archives. Visit http://tappedin.org/tappedin/web/festival/ for more info and to download the flyer. If you aren't familiar with tappedin or want some advice on attending the festival, there are pre-Festival Tips and Tricks events this whole month.
I will check it out! Thanks for the heads up. It is amazing the resources I have gotten from this discussion. I can't thank you all enough.
Hey Tina,

In the UK there is considerable interest in this area, and lots of research and practice to look at. As an ex-teacher who used gaming in my teaching as far back at the 90s, I have been very interested in this area for a long time. I am now sharing my experience by advising publishers and government agencies on how to implement new technologies to support teaching and learning in schools in the UK. I am very lucky!

Recently, I have been writing a series of articles on the subject, and so can quickly offer a few good starting points:

http://www.futurelab.org.uk/research/teachingwithgames.htm - Newest
http://partners.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=rh&rid=11207 - Bit older - but good

http://erywin.multiply.com/video/item/16 - excellent overview of the field
For a quick visual overview of the issues (big file!): http://www.edtechlife.com/files/PowerUp.pdf

Free games that would support Social Studies:

Other useful links:

Here is a short, but practical extract from my last article (please note the UK specific references):

Before you start
Play it yourself!
As with any resource, it is important that you are familiar with any computer game you are bringing into the classroom. It might not be your ‘cup-of-tea’, but get beyond any initial frustration, as this is only natural when learning something new. It might also help you to value the skills that the children in your class have already taught themselves!
Plan for it!
Central to the successful use of Computer Games in school, as with any other resource, is a clear set of learning objectives, medium term planning and assessment. What do you want to get out of the use of the game? How will you know if it has supported teaching and/or learning?
Make time and space for it!
Set clear expectations for the amount of time, times of the day and fair use of games, to ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity to access the games. Create a set of shared ground rules for the children, building from the Primary National Strategy Group Discussion and Interaction objectives .
Be positively inclusive!
Boys are likely to try to dominate any game, especially if they have considerable experience in gaming. Do not ignore this valuable resource – as this expertise can be shared – but be careful they do not overwhelm those with less access or inclination.
There might also be groups of children who might not see gaming as something they want to do. Remember, you are using games to meet educational purposes, so not engaging means not learning. Try to make space for these children to see how the game will support their areas of interest, rather than see it as a separate activity.

Accessibility is a legal requirement!
Not all children have equal access to playing computer games, perhaps due to gender, disability, or economic circumstances. Gaming in school offers a chance to moderate this digital divide. Using PC games is preferable for this reason, as there are more assistive technologies to support the use of PCs than other formats. Games allow for a range of methods of interaction, from audio to kinaesthetic – so it is easier to engage all learners in something motivating, without significant adaptation.

I hope this has begun to answer some of your questions and given you some pointers to take this further.

Good Luck and.... Game On
Wow! Thank you for sharing your valuable insight to this concept. I will investigate this much further. I encourage your further research on this matter, for I truly believe in the value of it. Thanks again. It means a lot!



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