The Rise of Educational Games

Game-Based Learning: The Rise Of Educational Games

According to a study by NPD, 91% of U.S. children from the ages of 2 to 17 play video games. As a result, schools are using games more than ever to drive deeper engagement in the classroom with their students. Based on a recent survey by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, 55% of teachers use games in the classroom at least once a week and 47% of these teachers state that the students who benefit the most are low-performing students and special education students.

A History Lesson

For nearly 40 years, games have enhanced K12 classrooms, starting in the ‘80s and ‘90s with titles such as Oregon Trail, Math Blaster, Carmen Sandiego and Zoombinis. In the early 2000s, schools adopted new technology such as LeapPads and GameBoys to educate and engage students inside and outside of the classroom.

Fast forward another decade and more than 50% of schools in the United States report offering their students 1-to-1 computing. With extensive access to devices in the classroom and games further tailored to their curriculum, teachers have adopted a diverse set of educational games like Minecraft EDU, BrainPOP, and iCivic on a much greater scale.

Games Are All Shapes And Sizes

Every teacher, topic, and lesson plan is unique, and as a result, the game used to enhance the material should be too. While there are dozens of game genres (action, adventure, puzzle, role playing, simulation, strategy, etc.), educational games can easily be categorized into short-form to long-form.

  • Short-form games provide focused concepts and the tools to practice. They can be
    completed within a classroom time period and are often available to schools as part of collections to be selected as curricular needs arise.
  • Long-form games are more grounded in research and align more naturally with new common core standards, focusing on higher order thinking skills. These games require anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to play and encourage a much deeper level of student experimentation.


If All Else Fails, Try Again!

Regardless of length, games can be played as many times as the user wants, which is
incredibly beneficial for students. When students have the chance to utilize games in their classrooms, this grants them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes as they play. In addition, with the use of repetition in gameplay, students retain information more efficiently and, ultimately, apply the knowledge they’ve learned from playing to prevent them from making mistakes in the future.

Even more, as they play these games, they’re able to learn what they need to improve on before they’re ultimately tested on the material. Unfortunately, if a student fails a test, it’s too late to fix any type of mistakes they’ve made since lessons move on after testing is over. Studies show that digital games can improve test scores for students, especially in the field of science, math, engineering and technology.

Reinforcing A Positive Learning Environment

Using games in the classroom facilitates a more positive and collaborative learning environment for students, especially when games are done in groups. Studies show that 53% of teachers find that using games in the classroom helps stimulate positive collaboration between students.

As a result, when students are encouraged to work together to solve tasks during games, they learn good sportsmanship and teamwork. Games also teach good communication skills, problem solving, critical thinking skills, creativity, and even time-management when used in group and time-based settings.

Overall, there truly is great value in incorporating games into the classroom. It not only benefits students immensely by giving them a risk-free platform to practice and learn, but it also makes studying time feel like play time, which ultimately helps fuel a positive learning environment and takes the stress away from students and teachers.

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