Educational Games-THEY DO EXIST!!

Computer Based Gamification


Computer based educational gamification has been around for quite some time. Educational computer games have been in classrooms for years with games such as The Oregon Trail and others (Cohen, 2011). Computer based games are just as they sound, games played utilizing a computer which can include graphics, sounds, simulations, and progression or completion awards or points. Computer games can be used for nearly all subjects and all education levels.

A prime example of computer based gamification is the use of computer to games to motivate and increase test scores in tests such as the SAT or ACT, triggering priming or the use of words in one task to another task (Dennis, Bhagwatwar, & Minas, 2013). The idea is that students enjoy playing games, they are motivated by success, and achieving high scores which untimely leads to their retaining and learning of information. Additionally, games such as the above mentioned Oregon Trail offer historical simulations where individuals are given tasks and trials similar to those which pioneers faced on the Oregon Trail. Simulation games provide individuals with a different learning experience, where they are allowed to make their own choices and decisions and are scored based on those choices (Tunstall & Lynch, 2010).

Computer based games can be used in both formal and informal education and learning. Students can complete assignments using computer games in the classroom. Outside of the classroom students can play educational games for fun and learn at the same time! Students who wish to improve their test scores, prepare for a test or upcoming course, or just simply want to learn something new can play games based on their selected outcome or subject.

Getting started using computer based games is easy! The student must have access to a computer, which also must have the appropriate operating system for the game they want to use. Computer games can be downloaded online, accessed from a website, or ran from a disk. Most games come with instructions explaining the objective, goal, scoring, and controls. From there it is simply play and learn!

To learn more about the use of computer games in education:

Edutopia. (2015). Game-based learning: Resource roundup. Retrieved from

Laughlin, D. & Marchuk, N. (2015). A guide to computer games in education for NASA. Retrieved from

Malykhina, E. (2014). Fact or fiction?: Video games are the future of education. Retrieved from


Cohen, A. M. (2011). The gamification of education. The Futurist, 45(5), 16-17.

Dennis, A. R., Bhagwatwar, A., & Minas, R. K. (2013). Play for performance: Using computer games to improve motivation and test-taking performance. Journal of Information Systems Education, 24(3), 223-231.

Tunstall, R., & Lynch, M. (2010). The role of simulation case studies in enterprise education. Education & Training, 52(8), 624-642. doi:



An app or application is a type of program that is downloaded to an electronic device. That device can be a cell phone, computer, tablet, or MP3 player. Apps are designed for a wide range of uses including education, business, banking, games, book, and more. The famous saying “there’s an app for that” is quite true, even for education and learning!

There are thousands of apps designed for learning or education. Some of the most popular computer based games have been converted to applications. Education gaming apps can help students learn a foreign language, advance their math skills, learn science, economics, or any other subject (Bomhold, 2013). Teachers can ask students to download specific educational game apps to use in the classroom or as part of their homework.

One of the great things about apps is that they are available at anytime and from any place. Students can learn informally at their own pace and as they wish! Teachers can use apps that include curriculum, specifically developed after 21st century learners and common core learning (Sebourn, 2013). Games are incorporated to increase student’s motivation and give them enjoyment in learning. Parents, educators, and students all find benefits to the use of games and apps in learning.

Apps are easy to use and in many instances free! All that is required is Internet access and a mobile device. From there you can simply search for the apps that have been recommended by educators or look for apps that appeal to your learning objective. Apps are then downloaded to the device and can be used anytime!

To learn more about apps and education visit:

Edutopia. (2014). Games in the mathematics classrooms: There’s an app for that! Retrieved from

Mobile Learning Academy. (2016). Mobile learning academy. Retrieved from

PBS kids. (2016). Apps & More. Retrieved from


Bomhold, C. R. (2013). Educational use of smart phone technology. Program, 47(4), 424-436. doi:

Cohen, A. M. (2011). The gamification of education. The Futurist, 45(5), 16-17.

Sebourn, C. (2013, Feb 20). Retired teacher unveils ‘apps with curriculum’ site in effort to align educational apps with common-core lesson plans. PR Newswire.

Gaming Systems


A gaming system or video game console is a device that provides audio and video that can be connected to a television or used via a hand-held device. Depending on the type of system, games come in disc, card, cartridge, and downloadable forms. Currently the most popular gaming systems or consoles are from PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo. Video games are some of the oldest types of games. There are several different genres including education!

One downfall of using a gaming system for educational purposes is lack of portability. Additionally, one system can only accommodate up to four individuals. On the other hand a major benefit to using a gaming console and educational video game is the cooperation between individuals for a common goal. Simulations and other types of gaming benefit each individual and course in different ways (Cornacchione, 2012). Movement based game consoles such as the Kinect or Wii, allow individuals to move and record their movements for games related to fitness, science, or dancing making them even more interactive (Galvin, 2012). Even games that one did not imagine were “educational” actually posses educational attributes like problem solving.

Teachers can get students involved in formal video game learning through tournaments and having consoles in the classroom for use. Teachers can go out and find games that meet their educational goal and implement them in the classroom. For students who are fortunate enough to have systems in their homes, parents can help them informally learn by purchasing educational games for their children to use. Likewise, adult learners can find problem solving and teamwork skills enhanced through a number of games.

Video games of this nature require the use of a gaming console. Consoles can be purchased at all electronic and department stores. Televisions or monitors are also required. Additionally, if instructors wish to have students create video games, Internet access may also be needed. Parents, instructors, and students can all search for games on the console, in stores, or research them online.

To learn more about gaming consoles and video games visit:

Devitt, J. (2013). Educational video games can boost motivation to learn, NYC, CUNY study shows. Retrieved from

Dewer, G. (2012). Educational video games: A guide for the science-minded. Retrieved from

EDC Learning Transforms Lives. (2016). Video games. Retrieved from


Adachi, P. J., C., & Willoughby, T. (2013). More than just fun and games: The longitudinal relationships between strategic video games, self-reported problem solving skills, and academic grades. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(7), 1041-52. doi:

Cornacchione, E. B. Jr. (2012). Fidelity and game-based technology in management education. Brazilian Administration Review, 9(2), 147-167.

Galvin, M. (2012). Interactive video game puts science in students’ hands. The National Academies in Focus, 12(1), 16.


      Not many realize that educational games offer a variety of benefits to not only the learner; but, also the trainer or teacher. No matter which educational games you want to use, the key is selecting one that works for your goals or objectives. Computer games, apps, and gaming systems each provide different accessibility to gaming and education. They can be used in schools, organizations, businesses, or at home for formal or informal learning.


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