Log in

Gaming in education | An Enabling e-Learning webinar and discussion

  • Public
Started by Tessa Gray 05 Nov 2013 11:40am () Replies (19)

More and more teachers in the VLN are interested potential of using Minecraft in the classroom. The idea of harnessing games in the classroom for both motivation/engagement as well as effective learning experiences (curriculum driven) - is not new.  

imageBig picture ideas: 


Ewan McIntosh has often blogged about the importance of ‘fun’ in learning as well as the potential of games to enhance creative writing. In terms of online gaming, Lisa Galarneau has said,

“People are playing games with other people, which means they have to develop skills around co-operation, communication, working with others…all kinds of things like being patient, having a sense of humour, helpful attitude etc are becoming increasingly important.” Gaming in Education.



In A change in perspective, Diana Oblinger makes reference to consumers manipulating what they watch and when through choice and control (think MySky). As a result of technologies, users, including our students have much more influence over self-service, self-publishing, self-control, personlising learning, remixing and multi-tasking. Diana asks, “If the thirty-second ad is losing its power, where does that put us?” [as teachers].

More recently a Herald article, Booming NZ game industry faces skills shortage (30 Oct, 2013) highlighted how creating computer games is a huge money-making spin for New Zealand, yet this is hampered by a shortage of NZ school graduates (The world needs programmers).


  • What does this mean for teachers when we design authentic learning experiences for our students?
  • What else can gaming ‘do’ for our students?
  • What are your thoughts about gaming in the classroom?


Hamish Chalmers about his interests in gaming research and shares some experiences with impact projects in the classroom in this Gaming in education webinar recording from 13 Nov, 2013. 



You might also be interested in:



  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2013 7:53am ()

    Here is another link passed on to me this morning, 

    10 reasons to use games in language teaching.

    Adam Simpson blogs "I will always argue that a good game can be not only justified, but should be regarded as an important part of your teaching repertoire. Here are some of the reasons why you should be using games in class."

    He also shares links to several other blog posts around gaming in teaching.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 07 Nov 2013 10:30am ()

    What a wonderful read about the rationalisation of 'why' we'd be using games in education Catriona, thanks for sharing. 

    I also shared in the ICTs in English listserve about the following:

    "Now here’s an ironic twist: for all those decades in which academia has been demonising video games by claiming it's taking time away from teenage reading, it now turns out gaming has become one of the main catalysts for teenage reading in boys."http://www.gamification.co/2013/11/05/gaming-prepares-us-to-learn/ (5 Nov, 2013)

    Anyone else have 'good news stories' when it comes to using interactive games with students?

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 10 Nov 2013 11:19am ()

    Hi all,

    A US-based article that I stumbled across this weekend, via Mindshift, to add to the mix; it highlights how gaming might support the front end of our curriculum, too, in terms of values and dispositions:

    image>>>Teaching empathy through digital game play:

    "The playful approach to learning a new concept that kids usually take when playing a video game can be just the right jumping-off point for diving deeply into a topic. Games can’t do all the teaching, but can engage kids to start thinking. At least that’s how MIT’s Education Arcade and the Learning Games Network are approaching their new free game Quandary. The two groups designed the video game to teach ethics...."

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 11 Nov 2013 10:36am ()

    Thanks for sharing this perspective Karen. I like the idea that games that provide a platform to support desirable values/ethics/moral – nice links to Digital Citizenship as well.

    A wee while back I compiled a collection of social conscious games which includes:

    This list is a little dated, so if people could share any more recent examples (to update the list), that would be awesome too. 

    More social conscious games can be found in Marc Prensky’s website Social Impact Games. 

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2013 9:05pm ()

    Webinar  - Gaming in Education

    Today we had our Webinar  - Gaming in Education, here is a blog post about the webinar with links to resources and references.

    What is shifting in education? How can gaming be a part of this change?

    Karen introduced this session by sharing with us an image of some of the changes in Education.

    Growing access to mobile devices, increased use of tablets, ease of access provided by apps, richness of software, connectivity and global socialisation. All of these help to make gaming enticing to educators as well as to students.

    The Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that

    “97% of kids ages 12 - 17 were playing some kind of digital game every week; about half played daily” 

    How can we capitalise on this enthusiasm by our students and bring it into the classroom?

    Karen then introduced us to the new idea of Failing up - the idea of building progress from failure. This idea is one that clearly links to gaming and to possibilities for learning design.

    How are we finding using gaming in the classroom is benefitting students?”

    Ben Soole - Collaboration and cooperation has been amazing since the use of gaming in a social environement

    Monika - When some boys only ever played in sandpit at Playcentre, we brought the books, paints etc. to them to the sandpit - that's how I see games as on-ramp also.

    Hamish Chalmers - Minecraft is awesome for a writing motivator! Nice article from Tessa in the thread earlier in the week as it for a reading motivator too. /discussion/view/844858

    Rebbecca Sweeney - My nephew was more motivated to blog once he was allowed to write about minecraft!

    Bruce - iPad apps that promote learning...fun and engaging.

    Anne K - Gaming often engages a very hard to engage student.

    More links to teachers using Gaming in the Classroom in this resource too /discussion/view/844858


    Karen shared some other online games including 

    SimCity Edu - Creating immersive experiences - real world problem solving.

    Quest to learn - supports all students in the pursuit of academic excellence, social responsibility, respect for others, and a passion for lifelong learning. 

    Immune Attack - teaches immunology in a fun and engaging way that is different from the traditional classroom setting, making use of the “challenge and reward” paradigm found in most video games.

    Karen then asked the question “How can we see the opportunities in gaming and effectively draw on them and incorporate them into learning in ways that is authentic and enhances learning in our classrooms?”

    “Kids need freedom to learn and explore.”

    “You need some idea of the purpose - but don't get stuck on this, your Students might surprise you.”

    “Gaming needs to be fun, engaging and competitive.”

    “Let our learning intentions and minecraft mechanics do the legwork!”

    Here are Karen's slides.

    Next today’s guest presenter Hamish Chalmers took us on a journey in the world of MineCraft and shared how it could be used as part of a classroom. His passion and enthusiasm for the possibilities for using Minecraft were evident and it was easy to get caught up in the excitement and begin to plan how to incorporate some of these fantastic ideas into our own classrooms.


    Hamish linked us to some reading on arguments for and against using gaming as part of your programme and some examples of boys reading texts well above their previous levels because of the level of interest in what they were reading and shared how Minecraft offers lots of opportunities for negotiation, collaboration and co-operation.


    Hamish highly recommended starting with MinecraftEdu as it makes creation of teaching and learning experiences in minecraft much easier.

    Hamish provided us with a heap of links to other subjects links using Minecraft.

    Maths - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbhwJ3Wl6OU

    Science - Minecraft Science: Wheat Farm Efficiency



    Creative writing ideas. 

    Humanities - Wonderful world of humanities in Minecraft

    Monika shared 25 Minecraft creations that will blow your mind. and these You Tube examples.

    Minecraft Mini Game: Conway's Game of Life, Minecraft IN Minecraft aka "mineception",  

    Barb also shared Melville Intermediate - Modelling another classroom in Minecraft

    Karen shared Pre-MInecraft for little ones > Toca Builders > http://tocaboca.com/game/toca-builders/

    Annemarie suggested having a look at Kassey's blog and 

    Minecraft ubiquitous learning

    5 myths about gamification everyone should know

    Finally Hamish shared how he believes that MineCraft can provide authentic and meaningful learning experiences accross all curriculum areas. 

    Here are Hamish's slides.

    See you all in a Minecraft space real soon!

    Follow these twitter feeds #gamelearnz and #elpld  plus @minecraftedu 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 14 Nov 2013 12:23pm ()

    Thank you for these detailed notes Catriona, the recording link is now uploaded and available to download in Enabling e-Learning's Webinar recordings.

    I've watched this myself today and was impressed by the discussion and responses around the potential, purpose and examples of games in education. More ideas welcome here!

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 19 Nov 2013 12:55pm ()

    Here's a game you might find delightful, entertaining or down-right addictive. Some of you may already know about Hay Day – free from iTunes, but also has in-app purchase options.

    Hay Day is a management based online game in which you manage the farm to yield more produce and expand the business by making good use of your resources. http://www.gamesonly.com/strategy-games/hay-day.html

    imageRather like Virtual families, you get to set up your own farm (instead of a house) – with chickens, cows, pigs, fields to grow fresh produce and buildings and equipment to turn the produce into food items - such as, animal feed, milk, butter, cheese, baked goods. It’s a busy little world.

    What’s the point? This game appeals to all ages. Instructions are both text-based and visual making it intuative to navigate. It is as responsive to random choices, but designed for more strategic thinking. You have to think logically, to plan ahead – what to grow, don’t run out of certain goods or you won’t be able to produce items to sell.

    The links between cause and effect is a big part of this game. So is the ability to understand correlations between the production cycles, that enable us to get yields and produce from farms.

    Hay Day has another layer, that allows users to connect socially with other players online - to trade.

    The annoying part?

    It can be addictive. Are my crops ready? Are my animals fed? Is someone waiting to purchase something? Knowing how to walk away from games like these can be a challenge for some…not me though! Innocent

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 19 Nov 2013 1:57pm ()


    Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 10.47.48 PM.png

    One of the games I saw in a classroom last week being used as part of a maths rotation was 

    Mystery Math Town 

    The site says Your mission: Help a friendly and curious little ghost rescue the fireflies that are hidden in Mystery Math Town. Players use math skills to unlock rooms and passages on their enchanting journey. Along the way, you can also earn talking portraits of the townspeople for your Gallery. Every picture has a story to tell and the colorful cast of characters in this town have plenty to say.

    The students I observed playing were engaged and sharing maths language as they excitedly completed the challenges.

    The game has customisable maths skills for each player and requires the students to build maths equations not just put in answers. 

    There is also another version called Mystery Maths Museum

  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2013 10:49pm ()

    I saw this link on Twitter tonight and thought it was well worthwhile adding in here!

    The future of gaming by Steve Wheeler

  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2013 11:20pm ()

    Hi again, now that I am alerted to Gaming (using the wonderful idea of Eric Frangenheim RAS alerted - Reticular Activating System) I am finding gaming links everywhere... I think this is well worth adding bringing yet another view to adding gaming to your programme.

    Roll your dice and move your mice 


  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 25 Nov 2013 2:02pm ()

    Minecraft maths map.

    Over on the VPLD community Justin Hickey has shared a Minecraft map made by a year 8 student from Awahono School.

    Each level of questions ties in with Number Knowledge Stages so could therefore be used as an assessment tool.

Join this group to contribute to discussions.