#48 – Game-Based Learning as a Medium to Connect With Every Child

Unpacking Education July 14, 2021 26 min

More often than not, teachers and parents think video games have a negative impact on children’s learning development. In this week’s episode, we explore the power of video games and the core concepts of game-based learning.

Join our Digital Learning Specialists as they chat with our special guest, Tammie Schrader—a regional Science and Computer Science Coordinator for Educational Service District 101 in Washington—about how game-based learning promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skill development through game characteristics and principles embedded in learning activities.

In this week’s episode, we distinguish gamification from game-based learning. If you are gamifying your lessons, you use gamification to reward and recognize students and their behavior. In contrast, game-based learning leverages games as a vehicle for learning. Let’s dive in!

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
Digital Learning Coach
Pamela Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist

I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States


The following are resources available on AVID Open Access to explore this topic in more depth:

Conversations About The Power of Video Games

From the beginning of time, culture illustrates that we have always played games. All students have access to games, and as teachers, we can engage students where they are naturally at by embedding concepts that our students need to learn into game-based structures. In addition, by introducing video games into the classroom, teachers experience empathy. When introducing video games, students are likely to understand the mechanics and how to succeed based on their experience. Teachers, by contrast, often don’t have gaming experience and may feel frustrated as they try to learn how to play.

Picture yourself trying to manipulate a controller with multiple buttons as your students yell, “Jump! Jump!” You understand what your students are saying, but you don’t know how to do it or which button to push—just as your students can understand what you are saying during a math, science, or English lesson but may not know how to execute on the concept without further guidance.

Join us as we chat with Tammie to learn how games help students communicate and collaborate on an equal playing field—where learning concepts are made fun by incorporating game-based mechanics that challenge, while motivating students to work through the struggle to succeed.

Game-Based Learning Resources

  • Walden: In this video game, players explore an open world simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. Players follow in his footsteps, surviving in the woods by finding food and fuel and also maintaining their shelter and clothing.
  • Minecraft: This video game is popular with children around the world. In this immersive game-based learning platform that drives creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving, students collaborate on projects with multiple classmates on a platform that can be personalized to your needs.