The Office of Faculty Development

Using Games & Simulations in the Classroom

This teaching guide looks at some of the different ways that faculty can integrate online simulations and games (physical and virtual) into their classroom teaching and student learning experiences. For example, a growing number of teachers use platforms such as Kahoot as part of their class lessons. While classroom simulations and games have always been an important part of the educational process, from mock trials and Model UN to historical role plays, technological innovations (e.g., VR, AI, Geolocation) have opened up new opportunities for creative and experimental online and immersive learning. 

Students entering college today grew up in a full digital world where video games and digital apps are a central part of global popular culture. Finding creative ways to bring in and use these new interactive technologies in our classrooms can be a powerful way to connect with students who may be more receptive to game-based learning. While it is important to acknowledge some limitations and critiques around the "gamification" of learning, such as access, cost, and equity issues, a growing body of research has shown the value of game-based learning as one resource in a diverse educational toolbox.  

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Explore hundreds of free interactive science and math simulations on the PhET website(opens in new window).

More social science and humanities simulations and instructional games(opens in new window).

Check out these open-source resources(opens in new window) for creating your own interactive stories.

Check out History Respawned podcast(opens in new window), where history meets gaming.

Check out the Well Played podcast(opens in new window) for the latest in game based teaching and learning. 

Check out the Professor Game podcast(opens in new window) for more insights into using games in class.

Joel Levin's TED talk(opens in new window) on learning through gaming & using Minecraft in the classroom.

Christopher See's TEDxCUHK talk(opens in new window) on Gamification in Higher Education.

Handbook of Game-Based Learning(opens in new window) (MIT Press 2020).

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction(opens in new window) (Pfeiffer, 2012).

Educational Game Design Fundamentals(opens in new window) (CRC Press 2018)

Gaming the Past(opens in new window) (Routledge 2011).