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Volume 21, Number 6
November/December 2005

The Classroom of Popular Culture

What video games can teach us about making students want to learn


Why is it that many children can’t sit still long enough to finish their homework and yet will spend hours playing on the computer? Video games are spectacularly successful at engaging young learners. It’s not because they are easy. Good video games are long, complex, and difficult. They have to be: If they were dumbed down, no one would want to play. But if children couldn’t figure out how to play them—and have fun doing so—game designers would soon go out of business.

To succeed, game designers incorporate principles of learning that are well supported by current research.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


Also by this Author

    For Further Information

    For Further Information

    J.C. Beck and M. Wade. Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2005.

    J.P. Gee. What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave/Macmillian, 2003.

    R. Koster. Theory of Fun for Game Design. Phoenix: Paraglyph, 2004