Games In The Classroom? One Teacher Says Yes

Wanna get some kids’ attention? Look to the video game.

If you were a kid of the 1980s and 1990s, you probably saved video games for after school. Super Mario Brothers was a great way to get over the trauma of learning multiplication tables, but kids these days may have it a bit better. One 23-year-old teacher is looking to bring video games into school as classroom software, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Ben Bertoli, a sixth grade teacher at Danville Middle School, was looking at ways to better motivate his students. He said he didn’t feel like he was doing enough to reward the kids for good work. This, according to the source, led him to create ClassRealm, a teaching tool in a role-playing video game that can help motivate kids to do homework and gives them rewards they select.

“It’s based on role-playing video games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy,” Bertoli said to the Star. “The students can gain achievements for doing things around the classroom or . . . can earn experience points for doing different things during the day, like participating in class or leading the class discussion.”

So far, the teacher has a prototype of the game on paper in his classroom, but he is partnering with Country Cotten to help move the game forward. They have enlisted an illustrator to draw avatars for the game and are currently looking at getting $65,000 in startup costs from a Kickstarter fund. Thus far, there has been $20,000 raised.

This video game in the classroom phenomenon has been going on across the country and world. For example, Northern California’s NPR station KQED reports that Santeri Koivisto and Joel Levin, two teachers, decided to create their own classroom video game. The game, called MinecraftEdu, allows teachers to tailor individual curriculum to students.

“Koivisto and Levin decided to pursue a classroom application after observing students solve complicated problems with their collaboration in the game,” the source said, referring to the popular game Minecraft. “When Koivisto tested Minecraft at a Finnish school, one-third of the 20 teachers in the study later chose to incorporate the game into their teaching.”

KQED spoke with New York public school teacher Matt Coia, who said the educational version of the game provides a deeper level of management and control for educators.

Are video games in the classroom something you believe will gain more traction over the next few years? Would you care if your children played video games in school? Let us know your thoughts!

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.