Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 7: Gaming

eSchool News counts down the ten most significant developments in educational technology during the past year. No. 7 touches on gaming’s place in the classroom.

gaming-Top10In school systems from coast to coast, tech-savvy educators experimented with augmented reality, educational gaming, and other techniques designed to enhance teaching and learning.

These are only some of the key ed-tech developments affecting K-12 schools in the past year—and we’ve got a full recap for you.

Here, the editors of eSchool News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2013.

To learn how these stories have made an impact on K-12 schools this year—and how they will continue to shape education in 2014 and beyond—read on.

(Next page: How gaming is making gains)

7. Educational gaming continues to gain momentum.

Once accompanied by a stigma, educational gaming has gained even more momentum over the past year.

Click here to access a PDF of all Top 10 stories.

Across the nation, teachers are recognizing that engaging and immersive educational games can motivate students to learn and excel, without students even realizing it. Game developers are still challenged to develop entertaining games that deliver research-based, pedagogically sound experiences for students—but when those games do succeed, administrators and teachers are able to use the real-time data being collected in the background to inform instruction.

During the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) conference in February, second-grade teacher Joli Barker discussed how she has turned her classroom into a “living video game”—and saw achievement soar as a result.

“In the world of gaming,” she says, “the very elements of struggle, challenge, and failure that discourage kids in the classroom become the primary drivers of engagement and achievement.”

At the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, the nation’s largest ed-tech trade show, 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 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, …1 billion gamers is actually … good news for parents and teachers, for learning and education,” she said.

See also:

How mainstream video games are being used as teaching tools

How to engage girls with gaming


Digital games still face uphill climb


How ‘game mechanics’ can revitalize education


How I turned my classroom into a ‘living video game’—and saw achievement soar


Engaging learners through games: Help or hype?


ISTE keynote: Gaming has huge educational potential


Online game helps students understand how democracy works


More educators turning to educational gaming


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