“Serious” Video Games to Motivate

Petkov, M., & Rogers, G.E. (2011). Using gaming to motivate today’s technology-dependent students. Journal of STEM Teacher Education, 48(1),7-12.


This article addresses the subject of using video games known as “serious games” in classrooms to motivate the technology-dependent students of today. These games are meant to educate and not to entertain as the authors present this as a means to motivate students and incorporate technology into the classroom.

The authors suggest that the current methods of instruction are quickly becoming outdated in this technological age and that the education system needs to change in order to appeal to today’s youth. As a solution for this problem, the authors propose the use of “serious” video games as a technology tool to integrate into the curriculum in order to motivate students who are technology-driven. They present research stating that video games are the number one source of entertainment in 12-17 year old students. The authors suggest connecting this knowledge of what students do outside of the learning environment with what is does inside the classroom. They also discuss the progress in technology and the current push for developing games that are focused on educating as opposed to entertainment, while still providing the engaging factors that attract students to video games.

As an educator and researcher interested in the impact that the push for STEM education has had, I find this to be an interesting approach to connecting education with students’ entertainment preference.  The technology we integrate must supplement the curriculum as well as motivate the students. I’m curious as to what impact video games, serious games that educate, have on students’ perspectives of STEM fields and if the use of gaming to promote STEM actually increases interest in students to pursue STEM fields in college. If this were an outcome of video game use in classrooms, then I would think this is certainly worth looking into further.

Additional Reads for Week 15:

Barrett, T.J., & Hegarty, M. (2016). Effects of interface and spatial ability on manipulation of virtual models in a STEM domain. Computers in Human Behavior, 65, 220-231.

Lee, A. (2015). Determining the effects of computer science education at the secondary level on STEM major choices in postsecondary institutions in the United States. Computers & Education, 88, 241-255.

Parker, C.E., Stylinski, C.D., Bonney, C.R., Schillaci, R., & McAuliffe, C. (2015). Examining the quality of technology implementation in STEM classrooms: Demonstration of an evaluative framework. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 47(2), 105-121.

Peters-Burton, E. (2018). Social equity and STEM education. School Science and Mathematics, 118, 73-74. Retrieved from www.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/ssm.

Smith, T. (2018). Digital equity: It’s more than just student access. Tech & Learning, 39(3), 22-29.

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