Game-based learning can be pricey. There are many free games online; however, as students show progress in game design, you will probably need to purchase game subscriptions and design software. Game subscriptions can be expensive and are usually purchased annually. Some game subscriptions require a game console rather than the computer, so you would need to purchase enough game consoles for your classroom. If game-based learning is a good fit for your teaching style, you would probably need to think about setting up a school or district budget to meet the financial needs of integrating games into the learning environment.

Time is a resource, and a resource that educators feel we need more of. Game-based learning takes time. Most of your students know how to play video games, but not in the context of school. It will take time to help students transfer their learning from a video to the classroom setting. It will take time to establish gaming expectations. It will take time to let students play through a game. It will take time to learn programming code. Consider holding professional development for a group of teachers interested in learning how to integrate game-based learning into their classroom.


Video games get a bad rap. There are countless articles that address concerns about the effect of violent video games on kids, video game addition, video games and obesity etc. There will most likely be concerns that arise with parents, administration, and even other educators when game-based learning is used in a classroom.

Prensky’s article (2002), referenced in the advantages section of this chapter, is a great resource to use to defend the use of video games in the classroom. Educators that want to use game-based learning in their classroom need to have open communication lines with concerned parties. Ultimately, educators need to know as much about game-based learning as possible in order to show the benefits of this type of teaching tool in the learning environment.

Making Games Meaningful

Choosing the right game(s) for learning targets can be a challenge. Marzano (2010) gives some suggestions for educators when choosing games for the learning environment. Use inconsequential competition. Competition is natural, but keep the stakes low. Educators should also target the essential academic content. Make sure that the goal(s) of the games line up with the goal(s) of your lesson. Take time to debrief the game. When educators take the time to discuss the outcome of the game with the learner, it gives the opportunity for self-reflection and to examine the content or learning goals. Finally, have students revise their work after playing the game. This gives students the chance to transfer knowledge learned from the game back into the classroom. Students can fix misconceptions, add new information and ask any questions that may have come up while playing the game. Educators need to make sure they are not having their students play a game just to have them play a game; this is not game-based learning. Make sure goals and objectives are aligned with the game.

When Things Don’t Work Out As Planned

If you have ever worked with technology in your learning environment, you know that a problem will inevitably occur. Problems can arise with hardware or software leaving you scrambling for quick solutions before you lose your class.

Plan B - have a back-up plan, just in case. Be flexible. You may have to move lessons around in order for something to get fixed. If it’s an important lesson that you must get done that day, contact IT and let them know what you are going to need to have in order for the game to be a success.

Have extras - if possible, have extra game controllers, software copies, computers, mouse, joystick, headsets, etc. Yes, this could get pricey, but could be worth the extra money knowing you can proceed with your lesson as planned.

Make an IT friend - use the resources you have in your buildings and in your districts. Communicating with IT before you try something big will help make sure you have all of the software and hardware ready

Be patient - take a deep breath, turn it into a teaching moment, know that your school year is not ruined because you can’t get the game to run that day.


What is Game-Based Learning

Using Games in the Classroom
Advantages of Game-Based Learning
Game-Based Learning Conclusion
Additional Resources and References