Where To Look: Games and Learning

You’ve taken an interest in games and learning…

Suggested Readings

The Game Believes In You – an excellent introduction to the intersections of games and learning.

What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy – the seminal text explaining what is compelling about video games and what could make school equally compelling.

The Multiplayer Classroom – a primer for teachers looking to add a game layer on top of the action in their classroom.

Rules of Play – the 700 page bible of game design.

Around The Web

Video Games and Learning, Coursera – a wonderful course from UW-Madison, delivered by two instructors on the leading edge of the study of games and learning.

Playful Learning – professional development and networking for teachers interested in GBL.

Playforce – a searchable database of digital games with educational value.

Classcraft – a commercial roleplaying system designed for school.

View On YouTube

Gaming can make a better world – fascinating TED talk by Jane McGonigal.

Made With Play – video series from Edutopia.

ExtraCredits: Games in Education – “because games matter”.

’90s Kids Play Oregon Trail As Adults – one of the very first educational digital games, revisited.

Follow On Twitter

@GLScenter – Games Learning Society

@instituteofplay – Institute of Play

@G4C –  Games for Change

List: Teachers Who Have GAME


Bernard Suits defined playing a game as “a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”. I think many students view school as an unnecessary obstacle, but they will voluntarily shell out $60 to play a game. That’s right! They’ll pay money for the chance to do tough cognitive work!!

Did I miss something? Comment with additional GBL resources.

Turn your classroom into a magic circle, but don’t feed your students chocolate covered broccoli. And stay virtuous everybody.


leveling up Aloth

Outside of the Black Hound Inn in Gilded Vale I met an elf named Aloth; a wizard. Happily, after helping him settle a misunderstanding with a group of locals, he agreed to join my party. One restful night in the inn later, each of the characters was ready to level up.

Choosing new skills for myself was easy; as a low-level monk there was not a wide selection.

But choosing new spells for Aloth was difficult.

It wasn’t just that the number of spells to choose from was overwhelming. It was the possibility that I could choose wrongly, and that choosing wrongly would make things too difficult or prevent my progress altogether later in the game. If I made the wrong choice now, why even bother playing?

I closed the game and then busied myself with some chores. I kept thinking about Aloth. I’ve played other CRPGs; would Aloth even stay in my party the whole game? Aren’t all his spells useful, given the right circumstances? He would level up again later and I could choose different, better spells then. It’s just a game! If I mess up I can load an earlier save. It would be a setback, and it would cost me some time, but I could use my mistakes to make even better choices a second or third time through. And the quickest way to lose the game would be not playing at all.

That’s life and learning in a nutshell. It’s easy to be overwhelmed and to disengage. It’s harder to accept failure as part of the process, but it gets you further.

I leveled up Aloth by choosing a couple support spells. I ended up adding two new members to my party before, while straying from the road to explore, we were all summarily slaughtered by a pack of wolves.

But I keep playing!

Stay virtuous everybody.