Winning students over with classroom video games

Some education programs have used video games to help professors engage students.

Teachers of all stripes are constantly looking for new ways to engage their students. Why not use video games? After all, 91 percent of kids between the ages of 2 and 17 consider themselves gamers. That’s 64 million potential students that can be reached through the digital landscape. A lot of promising work has been done in the higher ed world using video games to provide a better classroom experience.

Pennsylvania State University’s Education Gaming Commons (EGC) took that idea and ran with it by fusing the classroom experience with video game principles. The program’s project manager, Chris Stubbs, provides interested professors with new opportunities to engage their students. This can mean building a game from the ground up using classroom software or even integrating popular existing games into a teacher’s course. Compared to the cost of some other edtech projects, EGC-style programs won’t hit administrators’ wallets quite as hard. To outfit an entire lab with the necessary computers, video game consoles, monitors and software, schools are looking at spending less than $20,000.

Indiana University’s Virtual Xperience Lab goes one step further. Bob Appelman, who founded the project back in 1998, says researchers study how people most effectively learn from video games and then use that information to create their own educational programs. This way, educators can be sure that their custom programs are focused on engaging students in the most effective way possible.

For schools that want to find a new way to engage students, video games can provide an interesting twist on classroom software. It may prove to be an incredibly effective way to get students involved in the learning experience – if administrators can afford it, that is.

What do you think of the potential to reach students through video games? Is it worth the investment? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below and be sure to stop by our Facebook page!

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.