Boosting student achievement with video games

A City Hall building created in Minecraft

Hey teachers, do you have low-performing students, who have trouble paying attention? The solution could be video games.

That’s according to a survey of nearly 700 teachers*, who use games in the classroom, which was conducted by the Games and Learning Publishing Council. (Potential self-interest noted).  Forty-seven percent of teachers said that low-performing students were the main beneficiaries of gaming in the classroom, and 28 percent said students with emotional or behavioral issues benefited most.

Also from the survey of teachers:

  • 55 percent use gaming in the classroom at least once a week;  9 percent use it daily.
  • 55 percent said the games were most valuable as motivators of low-performing students and special education students.
  • 30 percent have students use games individually; 20 percent have kids work in small groups; and 17 percent play as a class.
  • Teachers rely most on other teachers for game recommendations.
  • Why aren’t more teachers using games?  Most cited not enough time. But cost and lack of tech resources were also popular answers.
  • The Games and Learning Publishing Council  is a coalition of game developers, industry leaders, investors, scholars and education experts focused on expanding game-based learning.

The survey doesn't make game recommendations, but one blogger and teacher recently listed his favorite options here.   There is an even longer list at the techlearning.com website.  

Among those options on both lists is Minecraft, a game that has more than a few teacher devotees.  A whole library of Minecraft-based learning games created by enthusiastic educators can be found here.


*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of teachers who took the survey. Nearly 700 teachers participated. The text has been corrected.

About the author

Dan Abendschein is the digital and data reporter on our LearningCurve team reporting on tech and education.

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