Gaming to Learn


Do educational computer and video games lead to real learning gains?

Many of today's K–12 students are spending their class time — and a lot of it — exploring science and diagramming sentences with Tim and his robot friend, Moby, through the website BrainPOP. The website allows kids to watch movies, complete quizzes and play games covering hundreds of topics within math, science, social studies, English, technology, art, music and health. The website tracks each student's learning accomplishments, and teachers have access to resources such as lesson plans, webinars, video tutorials, graphic organizers, and best practices — aligned to and searchable by state standards including Common Core.

BrainPOP is just one of hundreds of educational game websites in a billion-dollar industry that is growing in popularity. Nearly 60 percent of teachers now use digital games at least weekly in teaching, with 18 percent using them daily, according to a nationwide survey of 488 K–12 teachers conducted by researchers at New York University and the University of Michigan. In addition, more than a third of teachers use games at least weekly to assess student progress or understanding of class instruction.

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