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Gaming the Past: How to Teach with Video Games

Back in the day, I always felt that I needed to justify the use of video games as part of instruction. Principals, teachers, sometimes parents, would suggest that playing video games is not learning. I stopped using the words “video game” and started talking about “simulations” or “historical recreations.”

People seemed more comfortable with my kids “simulating” the past than with them “gaming” the past. It’s not like that anymore. Brain research and lots of classroom anecdotal evidence has convinced most people. Games are good.

The question often asked now is

What’s the best way to integrate games? How can I best use them to their fullest potential?

TeachingHistory’s got you covered. The site is in the middle of a great five part series by Jeremiah McCall that details how to incorporate video games and simulations into your class.

McCall, from Cincinnati Country Day School, is also the author of Gaming the Past: Using Video Games to Teach Secondary History  and maintains the site gamingthepast.net, a resource for historical simulation games in the classroom.

The TeachingHistory series lists a variety of different games and useful sites but I also like this one. It lists 26 serious games, many perfect and ready-made for classroom use.

So play some games. It’s okay. The kids will do more work. They’ll learn more. And you’ll have more fun.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is great! I was just working on a similar post about having students create games based on a history subject.

    I did a lot of cooky things when I played “Oregon Trail” in computer class, but I also got a pretty good idea that crossing the country in a conestoga wagon was no joke!

    February 15, 2012

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  1. Gaming the Past: How to Teach History with Video Games | Brush off the dust! History now!

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