I just read a posting about merging game theory and classroom instruction. It was from a few years back, so I decided to create a new post. This is the first time I have heard of studying video games to figure out what makes them so enticing for students. Though it makes sense, I had never considered how similar features could be applied in the classroom. I am including the link to the old post so that people can check it out.
I only made it through the first page and found it to be an extremely interesting discussion! I don’t own any video games but I am intrigued by this concept. Has anyone tried implementing something similar in their own classroom? Does anyone know of any resources or research involving game theory and education?
Weird -- I've been working on a blog post this week about this very topic. There SOOO much to it! I've been looking at playing games in the classroom, having students build games in the classroom, and utilizing game theory in education -- all of which seem to have positive results, if done well. (And all of which can be done for FREE, as long as you've got computers with Internet connections.)
You might also want to check out Institute of Play for more information on utilizing game theory in teaching.
I just posted that 'Video Gaming in Education' blog, if you're interested. It outlines the why and how of 3 ways teachers can effectively integrate gaming in the classroom:
There's also a lot of research referenced.
Engagement was the main reason I was using video games in the classroom, until I started doing some research. Games have been shown to increase student achievement on tests, as well as spatial reasoning, collaboration, problem solving, and even vision!
The most interesting study I found was one that showed the gender gap in spatial reasoning skills and peripheral vision can be closed when girls play some types of video games. (Info here and here.) Interesting stuff!
Using games in the classroom has been studied a lot and there are a lot of great resources out there for teachers. But first, don't confuse that with "game theory", which is a branch of mathematics that studies decision-making. An unfortunate choice of vocabulary, but if you do searches, it will be frustrating.
I've compiled a lot of research, links, books, and more about using games in the classroom... It's a companion to a 20 minute presentation I did for the K12online conference about games and education.
By shortest and best advice is to make sure the game really reinforces what you want your students to learn - not simply something marketed as "educational". Many educational "games" are simply worksheets and flashcards with spiffy graphics. If you wouldn't make the kids do the work on paper, doing it on the computer is not the way to go either.