A Primer for Video Games in the Classroom

Recently I got together with a friend of mine who teaches middle school age kids. When I asked him if he had ever tried to use video games in the classroom, not only did he say no, but also that he didn’t buy into the idea. Surprised by his response I felt compelled to convince him that video games could be a great asset in the classroom. I’ve felt this way since my dad helped introduce the Apple 2e to my elementary school. Oregon Trial, Number Munchers, and Turtle Graphics among others left a lasting impression on me that learning can be fun. I mean, who else but Carmen Sandiego could get me willfully read The World Almanac?

I offered to send him an email with more resources to help him see the power of video games. The list below represents a tiny slice of the enormous amount of material out there for those that want to learn more about how video games and technology can help in the classroom. Please comment and add your own favorite video games and resources.

Video Game Ideas, some games were designed to be used in the classroom, but don’t let that stop you from trying traditional games too.

Afrika, A virtual safari through Africa for the PlayStation 3

Dimension U, Various high-quality PC games focused on algebra

Endless Ocean, Explore the oceans on the Nintendo Wii

Fun Brain, Various web-based games for k-8 students covering a range of topics

Game Show Wizard, Games for your digital projector or monitor

Global Conflicts, A series of PC games that teaches students about current conflicts in the world

Immune Attack, Created by the Federation of American Scientist to teach biology

Jungle Extreem, Facebook farming simulation game (not Farmville)

Organizations and News:

Edutopia, article “Let the Games Begin: Entertainment Meets Education

eSchool News

Institute for the Future,

Check out the talk Jane McGonigal gave at TED, “Gaming can make a better world”

LearningWorks for Kids

Persuasive Games

What They Play

Festivals:

Games Education Summit

Games For Change

Meaningful Play

LinkedIn Groups

Games Based Learning

e-Learning Professional Network

Serious Games Group

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