“I Just Don’t Know Where to Begin”: Designing to Facilitate the Educational Use of Commercial, Off-the-Shelf Video Games

Published in Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, Volume 2, March 2017.

This chapter documents the process and preliminary results of a two year project in which a team of MIT researchers, in close collaboration with local educators, designed and tested supplemental teaching resources for supporting educators in implementing the use of commercial, off-the-shelf games in their secondary level, humanities (e.g. social studies, history, languages) classrooms. The chapter also provides an overview of similar research in the field of game-based learning and addresses challenges likely to be encountered in such implementation processes, particularly in the American public educational context.

Download I Just Don’t Know Where to Begin – Designing to Facilitate the Educational Use of Commercial, Off-the-Shelf Video Games (PDF)

Download Serious Games and Edutainment Applications Volume II (PDF)

Scot Osterweil

About Scot Osterweil

Scot Osterweil is Creative Director of the Education Arcade. He has designed award-winning games in both academic and commercial environments, focusing on what is authentically playful in challenging academic subjects. Designs include the acclaimed Zoombinis series (math and logic), Vanished: The MIT/Smithsonian Curated Game (environmental science), Labyrinth (math), Kids Survey Network (data and statistics), Caduceus (medicine), and iCue (history). He is a founder and Creative Director of Learning Games Network, where he leads the Gates Foundation’s Language Learning Initiative (ESL), and where he designed Quandary, named Game of the Year at the 2013 Games 4 Change festival. He co-authored the book Resonant Games (MIT Press) and serves as the play consultant on the Emmy Award winning Amazon TV series Tumbleleaf.


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