Game-Based Learning Talk

A quest to transform education through game-based learning

Educating Teachers in Game-Based Learning

with 21 comments

In the article “Bringing Game-Based Learning to Scale (pdf),” Merrilea J. Mayo from the Kauffman Foundation says this about game-based learning (GBL):

“…the question arises as to why a wildly popular medium in other spheres has not gained a greater foothold in both formal and informal education.”

In other words, what will it take to get GBL pedagogy to finally “take off” and become a standard and accepted way to educate our students?

Educating Teachers in Game-Based Learning


One of the biggest obstacles to wide-scale acceptance of GBL in our classrooms is the lack of proper training for our teachers. In order for GBL pedagogy to really take hold in K-12 education (and in higher education), we need teachers who are knowledgeable and skilled in teaching via gaming activities.

According to this Education Week article, “virtual schools are exploring how to become providers to teachers as well as students.” As a logical extension to my virtual game-based learning online academy, I have started to lay the groundwork for an online teacher education program to train teachers on the design and implementation of GBL activities in a classroom or online setting.

The program will be geared toward both pre-service teachers in teacher education programs and also in-service teachers and administrators as professional development in GBL.


  • Evaluating and Using Videogames, Educational Games, Online Games, and Non-Digital Games in the Classroom
    This is the area that most people think about when they hear the term “game-based learning.” This course is about evaluating all types of games to ascertain their relevance and effectiveness in student learning:
  • Evaluating and Using Game Design and Development Tools
    Having students design and develop their own games is a powerful way to have students learn not only about the technical and creative aspects of making a game but also about content-specific topics (such as history or math) that needs to be embedded in the game. Popular game creation tools include:

  • Designing and Implementing Educational Alternate Reality Games and Other New Media Games
    In this course, teachers will learn how to design and develop their own educational alternate reality game or other new media game that does not require programming skills nor a large development team to build. As they design their games, teachers will learn strategies about how to use game mechanics and storylines to ensure that the game covers relevant academics standards.
  • Utilizing Gamification Elements in the Classroom or Online Course
    Using game elements and principles to turn a class into a more game-like setting can be a way to help motivate and engage students. In this course, teachers will learn about the pros and cons of using gamification strategies, such as the use of badges and point systems, in the classroom or online course and ways in which they can implement these strategies.


Ideally, I would like to integrate this program into one or more existing teacher education programs in a higher education institution. There are not many online teacher education programs (yet), so this program could provide an online component to complement existing brick-and-mortar programs.

Regarding professional development for in-service teachers, this program can start up fairly quickly with one or two online workshop in GBL,  and then eventually expand into a series of workshops and/or full courses. Again, it would be ideal to be able to partner with existing schools of education, but another avenue might be to form a nonprofit organization to focus on offering professional development.

I would also be open to partnering with any existing teacher education programs or projects related to GBL.  Please contact me at or leave a comment below if you  would like to collaborate or become involved in some way in this program.

Otherwise, if you’re just interested in GBL and/or teacher education, please feel free to post your comments below.  Thanks a lot for your interest and feedback!


Written by randyfuj

October 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

21 Responses

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  1. This is awesome Randy. I definitely want to be involved. I am an instructional technology integration coordinator for a k12 private school organization, as well as a trainer and course developer for the Orange County Department of Education, where we teach a Leading Edge Certification course for Online Teaching. The Ed Tech Coor. and I are writing PD curricula based on the book, “Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. There will be versions for blended and online learning, mobile learning, and I would really like to do one that uses gbl as the main pedagogy. In fact, I was planning to contact you about that one, after we get rolling on the other versions. We should talk soon about this and my big ol’ scary project! 🙂


    October 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

  2. […] Educating Teachers in Game-Based Learning « Game-Based Learning Talk. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. Very interesting! I am an English and Norwegian teacher in vocational studies in Norway (age 16-18), and I am very interested in learning more about Game Based Learning. I have been reading James Paul Gee, and also some of your blog posts here. I really see how this approach can help my students (mostly boys) to understand and develop the skills they already have achieved from playing different kinds of games; skills which are important for their future carreers. I will spread your message here in Norway!

    Beate Henningsen (@Beatekh)

    October 28, 2011 at 2:14 am

    • Hi Beate, thanks for your comments and for sharing this in Norway. Hopefully, you will be able to get girls as well as boys interested in learning through games.


      October 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  4. Thank you for sharing. I think you may want to talk about more close-up look at game innards (so to speak) by subject. Are they intrinsic to the subject? Do mechanics align with teachers’ educational practices?

    • This sounds excellent! I have been teaching a Game Design Class after taking a summer class on game design from Boise State online. Its been interesting to watch how engaged the students are (I teach in an alternative classroom) . They take great pains to create their games and challenge other students to try to beat them. I believe games have huge potential in the classroom. I’d be interested in partnering in your project.

      Denise Bell

      October 28, 2011 at 8:26 am

      • Denise, what program are you using to create the games?


        October 28, 2011 at 8:31 am

      • I used Boise State’s as the framework and all of the quest based games. However, I also used Gamestar Mechanic(the students really enjoyed that one) and am now teaching Scratch in which they have to do some very basic programing. I also plan to have them develop a phone app and create a game that can be used at the elementary school for education. I would have liked to have everything lead from the Boise program but the filter issues were difficult.

        Denise Bell

        October 28, 2011 at 8:45 am

      • Hi Denise, thanks for your comment. I’d like to learn more about your game design class. Would you mind emailing me at so that we can discuss more?


        October 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    • Thanks for the comment, Maria. Yes, I agree that all of the proposed courses will have to teach an understanding of how the subject matter should be integrated into the game mechanics. As always, I appreciate your expertise in this area!


      October 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm

  5. Actually creating a curriculum to help educators both create and use game based learning sounds like a great idea. Like anything else, figuring out how to use technology and especially game oriented technology takes work, experimentation, and revision.

    I’ve been creating games, especially in the areas of chemistry and physics, but also game makers for use by teachers, for many years. For some examples, check out the web site:

    I use the authoring software Multimedia Fusion, which I highly recommend. For more information on Multimedia Fusion, go to:

    Please keep me informed about how the new curriculum developes. I would be most interested to see how it works out. Good luck.

    Steve Hughes

    Stephen Hughes

    October 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm

  6. Very Interesting stuff – Lancaster and Morecambe College here in the UK have secured Leonaardo Transfer of Innovation funding with 7 other European Partners to develop Vocational Training materials to support teachers using existing games in educational settings. The focal point of the project is which is a great free city building game involving sustainable energy 🙂

  7. There’s many people who share the same point of view with regards to GBL. I’ve been using it with disengaged learners in the north east of england for some time.
    I’ve found to be ahead of the thinking and assessment of GBL – one of the issues I found difficult to overcome when I research into this.
    Would love to get involved.

    • Hi Debra, sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. I am a big fan of David Shaffer’s epistemic games program. If you haven’t read his book, How Computer Games Help Children Learn, I highly recommend it.

      Thanks, I’ll keep you in the loop about our future GBL teacher education program plans.


      April 8, 2012 at 9:19 am

  8. Currently participating in 3DGameLab’s Online Teacher Camp. You should check it out.

    And if you’re building a list of educators interested in helping out, add me to your list. 🙂

    Sean J. O'Neil

    April 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    • Hi Sean, thanks for your comment. I’m familiar with 3D GameLab and it’s nice to see their platform becoming popular with teachers. Applying a gaming layer on top of the classroom process, like 3D GameLabs does, is one area that we’d like to address (the “Utilizing Gamification Elements in the Classroom or Online Course” section in the post above).

      Thanks, I’ll keep you in the loop about our future GBL teacher education program plans.


      April 8, 2012 at 9:30 am

  9. This is super exciting! If you’re creating games that tie into curriculum that you think we should consider for BrainPOP’s GameUp, please let me know. We love to support game-based learning – and especially teachers creating games!


    May 18, 2012 at 7:37 am

    • Hi Allisyn, thanks, I’m well aware of BrainPOP’s vast library of learning games from you and the GBL webinars. I’ll be sure to refer teacher there during our workshops.


      May 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

  10. This is super exciting! We would love to support teachers creating games for learning. If any of you have free games that tie into curriculum that we should consider featuring on BrainPOP’s GameUp, please let me know!


    May 18, 2012 at 7:38 am

  11. good and impressive work. i would like to see more examples of game-base learning\teaching games.


    September 12, 2013 at 1:34 am

  12. Online kids games are a source of fun, learning, and entertainment that successfully keep kids engaged and entertained.

    Ashley Wells

    November 27, 2013 at 8:10 am

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