Science teacher Paul Anderson says video games teach kids that failure is okay — that it’s part of the learning process.

“Trying something, failing, trying something again, that’s something we aspire to see in kids,” he says.

So he created a class around the premise of a video game — without a video game. Anderson honestly talks about what worked and what didn’t. Check out how it turned out.

  • Erin Lynch

    I think teaching children in a “game-like” manner is a fantastic way to keep students engaged and inspired to learn. It is important that students are having fun while learning, so much that they don’t even know it. I recently started my son, who was diagnosed with ADHD, and my daughter on this math and memory system called Brainetics ( It uses a game-like format to engage my son, and my daughter, and so far they have absorbed a greater amount of information than before. If a game format was applied to the classroom, I believe it would benefit my children as well as many other children greatly. Educators need to find more innovative ways to teach students while in the classroom and I think video games are a great start!

  • Wanekka

    Really loved this—  and am already trying to figure out how to swing this in my classroom….  appreciated the “failure” tips as well…  Excellent idea!!!

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  • Fun should not be a dirty word in school, but not everything should be fun.  I also agree with Mr. Anderson that failure is ok.  Creating conditions and assignments for students to embrace “going back to the drawing board” is a great and worthwhile challenge.

  • Robin_wilkins

    Loved this!! I will show this to my teachers. I will become the principal of a 21st century school building in July and when I observed the classrooms teachers were not fully utilizing the classroom’s technological potential.

  • Josephfdeluca

    Fear of failure cripples creativity; at least that is what I observed in the classroom (‘our classroom’, not ‘my classroom’). Far too often we glorify the successes of great people without giving necessary attention to how much failure led to their eventual success. In many learners there is so much pressure to succeed that even the slightest failure can cause major setbacks in their educational journeys.

  • CaioBella

    LOVE the idea of gamification of the classroom but I struggle with the way that schools are pressured to get passing rates up as all that does is decrease rigor. Failure will never be an option as long as teachers and schools are judged on how many students they pass, whether those students know the standards or not. With schools becoming diploma factories, expectations keep getting lower and lower.

  • Pingback: Literature, Ethics, Physics: It’s All In Video Games At This School | SocioTech'nowledge()

  • Pingback: Literature, Ethics, Physics: All In Video Games At This School | SocioTech'nowledge()

  • Robert Clegg

    The key here is that failure in a video game is fun, not just that it lets you fail. Racing games don’t just let you crash, you damage the car, explode, fly over the cliff, bang into someone else and make them crash; all fun!

    Advanced Design: A great game gives you clues or more info about the environment as you fail. Think of the racing game. It doesn’t just stop when you go over the white line. Your car loses a little traction in the grass but you can still recover. You bounce around and lose more traction in the gravel, the oil, what have you. And then you hit the wall – but maybe survived! Players pick these clues up about the environment and great game design uses that in advanced levels – a level you can only beat if you cut the corner risking stability, take a short cut that causes damage and slows you down, crash on purpose but get back on the road ahead of the pack ….

    Great design should incorporate learning as a part of failure. And great video games make failure fun!

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