ISTE keynote: Gaming has huge educational potential

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor
June 24th, 2013

Opening keynoter Jane McGonigal addressed gaming’s educational potential.

Gaming–educational gaming in particular–has supporters and skeptics. During the ISTE 2013 opening keynote, speaker Jane McGonigal, a gaming researcher and author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, laid out a vision for how gaming can help boost student engagement.

Calling game designers “happiness engineers” and experts in making difficult tasks engaging, McGonigal said that educators and policy makers should leverage game designers’ wisdom as they try to address important challenges in today’s world.

The number of gamers worldwide recently topped 1 billion, McGonigal said, and while skeptics might “think about games as being a waste of time, to avoid being a productive member of society, 1 billion gamers is actually the best news you’ll hear all week—it’s good news for parents and teachers, for learning and education, and good news, most of all, for anyone who wants to help pitch in and solve some of the world’s most epic challenges.”

(Next page: What does gaming do for gamers, exactly?)