Module 1.2  What is a game? Reflect:

After watching ‘What is a serious game?’, consider the language you and your school or education organisation uses in relation to the use of games.The term Serious Games is often used interchangeably, and confusingly according to circumstance and opportunity.

Others being:

  • Digital learning games
  • Game-based learning
  • Educational games
  • Edutainment games

How will you communicate to colleagues, parents and students what you mean by game-based learning? Write a short statement that outlines your own approach to game-based learning which sets out your approach using key words and phrases which help focus the reader on your use of games in learning. 


This is the explicit reference that my school has on its website: “The creation of game-based education resources to allow for simulation-based learning. Currently, the only place to gain true experience is in the same environment where mistakes have a lasting impact. The field of Serious Games allows the exploration of simulated environments in a safe, yet still engaging format.”.

I am still not clear what type of  games are used within the classrooms and different year levels throughout the school. In the Elementary, there are 1:1 ipads with the numerous ‘educational game/apps’ downloaded for use by teachers and students. I would most probably refer to them as educational games. Do they go into the field of ‘Edutainment’ even? However,  if we take the definition that was used within our module for ‘serious games’ then I would have to say that they also could be classified accordingly as:

“any game which includes tools and modules of various kinds to collect data transparently during           play towards assessing a goal or achievement”. or

as Katrin Becker states in her Introduction: “Serious games are digital games designed for purposes other than pure entertainment”.

Still, I am not sure if the games are what the school’s definition is referring to? I am also unsure about the phrase ´where mistakes have a lasting impact´’ too.  For me, that type of lasting impact and true experience, and learning from failure, would be more likely with games that develop ‘culture and community’  – the role playing games whether such as Minecraft, World of WarCraft or the simulation games with an explicit focus of immersing the player as part of training for medical, science, corporate, military environments or students solving global problems e.g.

It is furthermore problematic when ‘those in the know’ – researching in the field of ‘digital games’ and ‘serious games’ et al also find it difficult to come to a consensus re definitions. It seems to me reading Becker’s article that there are distinctions, dilemmas and debates raging regarding digital games/serious games.

So to go back to the beginning and my own statement of game based learning:

Students will actively participate in the digital environment through game based learning. This may involve multiple types of formats and contexts from educational games that will engage students while reinforcing skills  (mathematical, literacy) to more open-ended digital games. These multi user games support clear learning objectives and  focus on the development of 21st century skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, organization, communication, creativity and design. 

Digital games provide authentic educational experiences . Students learn through play, challenge, choice, failure and feedback. As in all aspects of life, reflection and evaluation is part of game based learning. Students engage in critical and ethical thinking and are exposed to divergent points of view.  Game based learning allows for the development of a ‘participatory culture’ and ‘learning communities of practice’ both within the classroom and global educational environments.