The idea of using video games in the classroom may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s clear that when students are engaged, they are learning. Using video games in the classroom as an innovative approach to engage students can work. According to, game-based learning can motivate learners to be engaged over longer periods as well as develop theirsocial and emotional skills. Additionally, onefound that video games can help students with ADHD focus. By incorporating video games into your curriculum, you are not just entertaining students; you are helping them develop critical skills and enhancing their overall learning experience.

Embracing Video Games

Video games can be used as a powerful classroom tool as long as they are used to enhance your learning objectives. Be sure to select games that align with the subject matter you are teaching, and develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, etc. Use these interactive learning experiences to help students connect their virtual experiences and their real-life experiences. Utilizing video games in the classroom requires an open mind and a willingness to be innovative with strategies that are unlike your traditional teaching methods.

Video Games for Enhanced Learning

Some games are designed with educational content in mind while other strategic or multi-player games help learners make decisions or develop social skills. Here are a few video games you can use in the classroom to engage students.

Minecraft Education

transforms the traditional block-based game into an interactive learning platform that engages students through building projects and challenges. This edition of Minecraft enables teachers to incorporate it into all subject areas of their curriculum (math, science, history). Throughout this game, students will apply their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they work collaboratively with others to navigate their way through the quests together.

Civilization VI

is a strategy-based game where students build a civilization from scratch. It requires students to have a basic understanding of geography and money because they will need to spend their money for the greater good of society – think military, urban development, and public goods. Throughout the game, students will be engaged in historical, cultural, and geopolitical concepts while developing a variety of skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

can be used in the classroom as a great teaching tool because it blends historical facts with engaging storytelling and challenging puzzles for students to complete. Set in World War I, students will navigate their way through this comic-book-style video game and gain a deeper understanding of historical and global conflicts. As an adventure game, it offers a unique way to develop student’s emotional intelligence and empathy by learning historical facts through an engaging and interactive learning experience.

DragonBox Series

ճ, developed by the educational company Kahoot, is a video game series that teaches and reinforces math concepts. This collection of games uses interactive puzzles and challenges to teach mathematical concepts ranging from basic arithmetic to multiplication, algebra, and geometric elements. By engaging students in this interactive learning experience, students gain a deep understanding of math concepts while developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Kerbal Space Program

is a physics-based space simulation game that teaches students about aerospace engineering, physics, and mathematics. As students design, manage, and launch their own space missions they are learning skills and concepts that encourage critical thinking and decision-making. Students must consider real-world challenges as they complete missions and apply mathematical concepts to calculate successful missions. Students also learn the importance of planning, adapting, and persevering while engaging in gameplay.

Implementing Video Games

Using video games as a teaching tool in the classroom requires some planning to ensure an optimal learning experience. Here are a few steps to ensure an enriching learning experience.

Identify Your Objectives

Planning starts by selecting games that align with your objectives. What do you want your students to get out of this video game? Once you have a clear purpose, it will help you narrow down which type of game you want your students to play.

Select Games

Games should be aligned with your objectives and should be age-appropriate. Research games suitable for all skill levels within your specific age range. First, look for games that have been developed with educational outcomes in mind. These games usually have resources for teachers that will help fit into your curriculum. If you can’t find any, then remember other games can still provide a valuable learning experience. Just look for games in a specific genre or subject area where skills of strategy or other skills can be applied.

Plan, Prepare, and Integrate Resources

Like any lesson plan, plan how your game will fit into the curriculum. Will it introduce a new concept or review an old one? Once you know this you can then prepare your resources such as gathering technology, installing software, creating user accounts, or familiarizing yourself with the game. Finally, you will introduce the game to students and discuss your objectives and expected outcomes, so students understand the purpose of playing as well as the expectations you have set.

Integrating video games into the classroom is a forward-thinking approach that can appeal to student interests. By carefully selecting games and balancing them with traditional teaching methods, you can enhance your students’ learning experience and create a classroom environment where students are engaged and captivated by innovative teaching methods.