How Do I Get Started?

A basic guide to games in the classroom.

This guide will get you started with tips and strategies on finding, selecting and using games that will be the right fit for you and your students.

Ways to Use Games in the Classroom

Educators are implementing games in their classrooms in many ways. Some examples include:

  • As pre-assessments to gauge students’ understanding at the start of a new unit or topic
  • When introducing a new topic
  • To teach a particular topic or skill
  • To prepare students to become lifelong learners
  • For revision, practice or reinforcement ahead of tests
  • For engagement and/or to provide a hook for students who struggle
  • To allow students to find out things on their own
  • To enhance critical thinking skills and analysis
  • To foster tenacity in the face of frustration
  • To excite students about homework


Game Implementation Tips

Although there is a wide variety of games, there are some tips that apply across most games to help you maximize your chances of a successful implementation.

  • Allow sufficient time to become familiar with the game – for you and your students.
  • Identify the precise role to be played by using the game in achieving the learning goals.
  • Allow the game to be used outside of school.
  • Use the parts of the game that work for you.
  • Let your students demonstrate expertise and mastery.
  • Build in time for review and reflection.


Selecting a Game

Ask yourself these essential questions when looking for games:

  • Is it suitable for your students?
  • What elements of the game support your educational goals?
  • Would your students be motivated to use it?

Check out our Game Review Tool to determine if a game is a good fit for you and your classroom!


Finding & Sharing Games & Lesson Ideas

Check out our favorite tools for finding and sharing games and lesson ideas that are suitable for you and your students.


Case Studies

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center has compiled the following ‘Teaching with Games’ video playlist as part of a national survey of teachers who work with video games in the classroom. These five case studies offer an insight into the amazing ways educators are innovating with games.


Help Shape this Guide!

The topics, content and presentation of our guides are crafted by members of the Playful Learning network. We’re open to suggestions for improving this guide and others, ideas for new topics to cover and questions to answer, and tips or testimonials that will help other educators. Whatever your idea, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us with your suggestion and we’ll get right back to you.