Whether teachers are using jeopardy style questions to do test prep or bringing in online games like Minecraft to teach spatial reasoning, games have long been an effective way to engage kids. We Are Teachers, an online resource for educators, surveyed teachers about how they use games and found that 67% use traditional and digital games in the classroom. Just 22% said they didn’t have time to integrate digital games and 56% say they don’t have adequate access to computers for digital game time.

What Teachers Really Think About Game Based Learning 18 December,2012Katrina Schwartz

  • ICALAdmin

    Can I disagree with the dubious conclusion in the infographic? It’s not that teachers need more technology to implement digital games in the classroom, The statistic of 29% says it all: teachers need more TIME to integrate digital games in the classroom.

    That’s the key here. More time to learn about these games, how to implement them, get to grips with the technology and so on.

    So no, we don’t need more technology, we need more time!

  • LBPClassroom

    I would say that there also has to be a desire. Teachers have to desire to learn about the games (especially digital). We need to take the initiative to try, we need to understand that it could completely fall apart the first time we try it, and we need to not give up on it just because it didn’t work the first time. Kids grow out of games, I have seen it first hand (lbpclassroom.blogspot.com). It is worth taking the risk and they truly gain a lot from the application and review.

    I do agree with ICALAdmin, it is not for the lack of technology. I have worked in three different districts and none of them lacked the materials. Time and desire are critical.

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  • Nigel Nisbet

    I would be very inclined to agree with my fellow commenters here. While there are obviously some schools/districts where access is a problem, I suspect that the 56% of teachers self-reporting that they don’t have the technology really indicates the lack of buy-in to this learning methodology. Many districts around the country are actually moving towards one-to-one tablet/computer initiatives, so within the next few years this will likely be irrelevant.

    Time is also an issue, but this also just signifies how educational priorities are currently aligned. The bigger issue by far, is the quality of materials/games and – the biggest problem – how to effectively integrate them into the instruction.

    For example, I would argue that using “Jeopardy-style games” for test-prep {the number 1 most downloaded SMART Board lesson by the way} is hardly a “cutting-edge” use of game-based learning. To start with of course, it’s not even being used for learning. It’s being used after the learning has supposedly taken place and is just glorified multiple-choice test done en masse – it may be fun, even on the face of it engaging, but are the kids actually engaged in mathematical thinking???

    The potential of game-based learning is extreme, but not done like that. Students need to learn by doing, and games present a fabulous way to actually make that happen. Using Minecraft to teach spatial reasoning, is not a bad idea, but remember that it is designed for entertainment not education and, like using Angry Birds to “teach” physics, may have some tangential value, but not even in the same ballpark as games/curricula designed specifically for student learning.

    Check out Dr. Matthew Peterson in this TEDx talk http://bit.ly/pfXL6Q “Math without words” as he discusses a visual game-based math program now used by half-a-million students in the US.

    Additionally here are a couple of free apps – spatial temporal games (they start out deceptively easy – but you try getting past about level 6):

    Big Seed https://itunes.apple.com/us/ap

    Kick Box https://itunes.apple.com/us/ap

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  • bill

    I believe it is good to show every body that even computer game,as a game, is an important thing and you can not say it is easy. i think every computer teacher should be aware of important computer game’s points to transfer them to the students.

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Katrina Schwartz

Katrina Schwartz is a journalist based in San Francisco. She’s worked at KPCC public radio in LA and has reported on air and online for KQED since 2010. She’s a staff writer for KQED’s education blog MindShift.

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