Archive of ‘INF541’ category

Well, this is it.


Well, this is it. The final post of my Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) and this first part at least is being written going 100 Kms an hour on the Northern Highway heading to my home in beautiful Echuca, Victoria. My amazing wife has let me smash this out while on the way home from a weekend in Melbourne. This is a small glimpse into the incredible support she has offered me while I’ve undertaken this course. So, first and foremost; thanks to her.

To be honest, I have mixed emotions upon finishing this subject and my course. The past three years have allowed me to explore fascinating concepts of knowledge networks and digital innovation including design thinking, game-based learning, digital citizenship, classroom technologies and knowledge networks. As you’d expect, it is incredibly broad! When I began the course, I was actually hoping to find something that would resonate with me and lead me down a very specific path to become a niche expert. Unfortunately, that just hasn’t happened. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind. Thinking about that more critically, I’m happy with what I’ve learned and accomplished. I’m looking forward to letting the dust settle and allowing me to reflect on a more focused area of study. I’ll let you know when I know 😉

But allow me to ruminate for a brief moment…

If I’ve completed my Masters, without feeling quite like a Master… what were the gains?

As I said before, it’s been amazing to explore and thrive in the subject areas, but in my opinion, the most important thing has been expanding my personal learning network (PLN). This is the one thing that won’t be forgotten and has proven invaluable over time. I’d like to thank broadly, all those I’ve connected with at CSU for their generous support and encouragement and for their inspirational fearlessness, publishing and sharing their work with a global audience. In particular, I would like to thank a crucial node within my PLN, Jacques du Toit who has helped me learn and grow as an educator/leader over the last three years. Weekly Google Hangouts to discuss readings and assessment have characterised this period.



Reflections on Issues in Professional Learning

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this subject and in particular, combing through the course materials! There was a wide range of resources that helped me gain a solid understanding of the subject area.

In the beginning of the subject, Susanne asked us to identify our goals. I indicated that I was “ hopeful that this subject will help identify best practice and enable me to implement it with my staff in the future.”

Susanne responded by pointing out that “best practice is a term that has been used for a while – but it can be misleading. See her point below.



My second assessment allowed me time to explore not only the research behind professional learning communities but the contexts and conditions in which my school’s model works the best. It’s been great to sort out which versions of this model are more successful and as a result, begin to think about how I’ll draw from the research and lead change within my school community. Providing increased time, creating an environment that endorses rigorous debate and cultivating leadership are all places I’m looking to start. Despite having done a crazy amount of research on the topic, it’s still important to build with flexibility in mind. Huffman, Hipp, Hord, Pankake, Moller, Olivier, and Cowan (2003) caution that PLCs “cannot be prescriptive or expected to follow a linear course” (p. 68) There are too many factors moving within school organisations that can force you to augment your plans. So to reiterate Susanne’s point, it’ll be more about playing with the elements and finding out what works best within my context.

In terms of participation in the subject, I was able to utilise the discussion forum, blog and Twitter to enhance my experience.

Reflecting back, I found it difficult keep track of discussions on blogs. When I first posted to the “blog” section on the CSU learning management system, I was surprised that no one else had utilised the Think Space blogs or a free alternative platform to track their learnings/musings within this subject.



When comments were posted to the “blog” page here, no notifications were directly sent to the author of the post. This impeded potential conversations as I would often tire of checking. It was nice to connect with other students via my Thinkspace blog.


Obviously, I would have loved to participate more but unfortunately, these holidays, the family came (as it should) first. Now that my official study is finished, I’m looking forward to spending more time with them!




Hyperlinks to all previous posts:


Post 1

Post 2

Post 3

Post 4

Post 5

Post 6

Post 7

Post 8

Post 9

Post 10


(please note that formatting problems within WordPress have impacted the correct indentation of referencing below)

Huffman, J. B., Hipp, K. K., Hord, S. M., Pankake, A. M., Moller, G., Olivier, D. F., & Cowan, F. (2003). Reculturing Schools as Professional Learning Communities. Lanham, United States: R&L Education. Retrieved from




Critical Reflection INF541



Reflecting back, my first blog post “The Kids are Still Playing Games”  raised a point that’s directed my learning in this subject. I wrote:


The YouTube video “How games prepare you for life – Education: 21st Century Skills” makes a solid point where it argues that it’ll be up to teachers to make knowledge and skills acquired from the games meaningful. (Grant, 2017, para. 10)


The role of the teacher is pivotal (Hattie, 2012). Within the GBL classroom, this seems to be even more the case. Well before getting your students to push start on any game, careful considerations must be made. Beavis et al., (2014) highlighted that educators need to take into consideration socio-economical factors as well as differences in gender and cultural background that can have “a profound impact upon how/when/why students would be engaged or motivated in working with specific games” ( p. 577). De Freitas & Oliver (2006) believe a next step follows a line of questioning where the educator asks questions surrounding which game fits best with the learning context, the pedagogical activities that relate to learning activities and the validity of the game’s use (p.251). Exploring models like O’Brien’s (2011) ‘Taxonomy of Educational Games’ can greatly help clarifying learning objectives.

While many of these considerations seem second nature now, at the time I entered the subject, my design choices were more a “willy-nilly application than calculated, planned usage” (Grant, 2017). Having an awareness of the potential dangers of using GBL is also part of what’s required of educators today. M. Karen Malbon and I both remarked on the concerning links games share with gambling based on the provocation from King, Delfabbro & Griffiths (2010).

This subject has provided me with an opportunity to grow professionally and expand my professional learning network. It seems as though I’m part of a vibrant cluster of #INF541 educators that love to share their thoughts and findings on Twitter. Contributing to this learning community through professional dialogue has enabled me to view multiple perspectives on GBL issues. Co-hosting a Twitter chat on assessment 3 exemplified this as well as weekly online video conferences Jacques du Toit to unpack the readings. Don’t be fooled, Jacques and I were actually engaged in professional discourse there!




Overall, in terms of my understanding of the GBL, I feel that schools do themselves a disservice if they present their students with a watered down version of it. They must strive to embed it within their cultures. I’d advocate utilising much of what is described in the ‘10 Core Practices Defining The Game School’. This clear statement of values helps embed a gaming culture. If GBL programs are to be successful, professional development needs to be prioritised.

Over the course of the subject, I often felt like I couldn’t prioritise the gaming experience over the required readings. This and the elements of full-time work and family have definitely impacted my ability to fully engage in the subject material. I did however thoroughly enjoy it and I believe it’s made me a better educator with a couple of extra tools in his tool belt.





Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London:


Survey: Students Opinions of GBL in a Regional Victorian School

I was able to survey a cross section of students at a regional secondary school in Victoria. In general, it was clear that the majority of students play games and believe they are a source of learning and motivation/engagement.

Here are the results.

I also collated student results to the examples of games they played in class and have grouped them in terms of their pedagogical underpinning. It seems as though a sizeable chunk of students included games they play outside of class time. This could account for the high number of computer off the shelf (COTs) titles included.


Please list your favourite games to play in class and briefly explain why you like them







Squirt squirt Ball games

ball games squirt squirt because they are fun and take away the border of learning



Farming Simulator because I want to be a farmer when I am older


parking mania, i play it on my phone, it taught me how to drive and park a car in real life.


Um more interactive stuff get students engaged, if you just put more technology i.e games it makes them less focussed, it may be good for the people who are super techy and live for computers but others will probably hate it, if the teacher here introduced more interactive learning and no technology it would be amazing.


Wink murder and other small games




Depends on what game, most games i play revolve around strategy and combat where as the games we play at school just aren’t really interesting to me.



Skill and Drill

hot maths






Some games such as kahoot are because you are competing against others but, others can be boring, and without any reward (ie winning)

Kahoot, Everyone loves it, motivates people to learn and they win like that.

Kahoot because it helps

Kahoot because it ios fun




Kahoot, because they test the knowledge that you learn in class and manages to make it fun while doing it.

I enjoy a kahoot every now and then. It brings excitement to the classroom while keeping things educational.

Kahoot, because it is exciting and fun

I don’t play games during class. Unless the teacher decided that a ‘Kahoot’ or other online learning activities. Then yes, I like those ones because they are educational.



freeriderHD offline editor, forza horizon 3, COD BO3, GTA 5.

Battlefield 1, Because it is fun

Fifa, Maden, NBA, Forza, Tom Clancy I like these games because they relate towards my hobbies and add an element of skill needed to be good at what you play.

GTA V cause its fun

NOT KAHOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

100 balls, moron test i like them because they are strategy games. they make you think

i like to play forza horizon 3 because im intrested in cars

firewatch, the art style

GTA 5. Farcry 4

and GTA V

Fps because their fun and intense

Nba 2k 11 because it goes on and on

Black Ops 3 and NBA 2K17

NBA and mostly other sports games and I don;t really know why I like them


energiser games we play with Mrs Mai

Name the most different things on a subject help you learn about the subject and is fun

I don’t play games in class, I prefer to read book and sniff the dust.

My mummy tells me not to play games. But i like to play COC (Clash of Clans) and Clash Royale. and especially Minecraft. Minecraft is my favourite game of all time. IT AMAZING!!!!

nba jam because i play with mates

Broforce The escapist Marble Blast

Call Of Duty: Because you can play with friends and its addictive.

FIFA 17 Because I believe that if you play it the right way you can learn and get a lot out of it

Survey: Teachers’ opinions and the use of GBL in their School

Recently, I was able to survey a number of teachers at a secondary school in regional Victoria. The result generally indicated that teachers viewed games as an acceptable learning platform but also raised many concerns about adopting the practice.

Here are the results. 


I thought I’d explore the responses to the two questions which required written answers. On the first, I tried to identify common themes within the responses. I’ve deconstructed it below. On the second, I grouped the games identified in terms of their pedagogical underpinnings.

List your concerns about increasing the use of Game Based Learning in your classroom.


-Finding games that specifically target skill areas in course.

-Issues centred around the monitoring and appropriate selection use of games

-Finding appropriate games to use

-It is important to keep the games used relevant and useful. I have been winess to some games that do not benefit the students using them.

-Suitable games often don’t exist for my classes.


-Ensure strong links to curriculum, not just a fun activity.

-It is important that the learning within the game is identifiable. Not all games achieve this and therefore, whilst engaging are not useful.

 –Needs to be closely tied in with clearly prescribed learning outcomes. Needs to have relevancy.

 –The only concern would be related to time. Is there time within the topic plan/curriculum to allow for games to be played and can the games be adapted to the topic being learned.



-distractions of non-educational games.

-Students not understanding the purpose of learning through games, misusing resources, time wasting

-students may not take them seriously, or play other games.

-Students becoming off task

-Game playing can become an expectation, too immersed, (1) not being able to stop and listen or (2) going off track.

-That it would distract them from the actual topic or task at hand.

-Miss use of devices in class. Will expect that it will happen most lessons.


Negative Impact

-That students do not get enough time off computers and are spending less time talking to people face-to-face

-Students will only want to do that

-That the game over-rides the learning- needs to be very purposeful

-taking time away from developing skills with traditional materials

-students spend too much time on laptops

-My only concern would be around inappropriate violence or content.

-There is room for some game based learning in the classroom. I have seen some positive games used in both Literacy and Maths, however, too much screen time and other games that are not really related can be more of a distraction. I feel that games should be used appropriately or as a reward or recap.

– Students are concerned with finishing the game with the highest score or the fastest and aren’t concerned with the actual learning. I have used some simulation games in classes and have noticed some students just remembering where they clicked not the actual answer to the question.

– increased screen time for students, not focussing on other important areas and ways of learning


Lack of Teacher PD

-My main concern is that I don’t feel I know enough about how to run them effectively nor I am aware of what is available

-Time to develop

-I would need PD!


How to Monitor/assess

-Monitoring appropriate use



Limited Application to ‘Real World’

-Linking back to the real world

-Difficulty young people may have transferring learning from game context to application of learnt skills/knowledge.


-none, i use them regularly

-welcome it

-I fully support the use of any teaching strategies that engage the learner and encourages higher order thinking skills. I believe that any Learning stratgey needs to balanced, and care taken to ensure that we address the learning styles of all.

-Lack of use of learning intentions and success criteria.

-There is room for some game based learning in the classroom. I have seen some positive games used in both Literacy and Maths, however, too much screen time and other games that are not really related can be more of a distraction. I feel that games should be used appropriately or as a reward or recap.

– Computer games are ‘individual’. Unless they involve interaction with peers and older positive influences, they contribute to intra personal communication skills.



Q2-Explain where you’ve used Games or Game-Based Learning at SJE (Year Level, Game, Unit)


Pragmatic (simulations)

-Gambling unit in maths

-9 Hums – Industrial Revolution – Create your village 9 Hums – Industrial Revolution

-Colorado simulations in chemistry

-8RE social justice unit – they do a simulation activity (not an actual game) on what it’s like to be a refugee


-Careers with year 9

-Legal Studies unit 1: CSI

-Shogun 2 (8 Hums)

-Year 8 Humanities, Mind Craft in order to show how a castle is built.

Skill and Drill

-VCAL – OHS Unit

-Year 7 Maths- Hotmaths,

-To teach about Italian contents and vocabulary (clothes, days and months, numbers, verbs, etc…)

-year 7 maths: maths quest (jacplus), hotmaths

-year 7/8 English: knowledge quest (jacplus)

-Installed a game onto everyones computer in the school where students had to build molecules. Use pHet

-Hotmaths and sumdog games in maths

-Similar – Year 7, 8 ,9 online piano tutorials with scrolling graphics that kind of represent a game.

-Yr 11 PE Whack a bone and poke a muscle (learning bones and muscles)

-Year 7 Spelling

-Year 10 MLO Money and WBU Supply & Demand

-I am not sure of your definition of a game – the only thing that I can think of that I am using right now is Duolingo and I am not sure that I would call it a game. I also use languages online which plays interactive games to reinforce content related to Italian Grammar.

-Unit 3 Biology – Immune system attack game

-Maths – games on HotMaths to develop number skills, spatial awareness, consolidate classroom practice


-Year 7 Kahoot- Woodwork

-To date I have really just used quiz type competitions

-Kahoots across various subjects

-HUMS- revision of Greek gods quiz on… kahootz

-Class Dojo

-Does a Kahoot count?

-Students have designed their own Kahoots to consolidate knowledge.

I have used “Sing Star” in the past for singing classes. Students have competitive fun while needing to focus on pitch and duration accuracy.


-Year 9 Game design, Year 7 and 8 ICT

Multipop (word game)

ICT – Scratch





INF541 Assessment 3 Critical Review

Arnab, S., Berta, R., Earp, J., De Freitas, S., Popescu, M., Romero, M., … & Usart, M. (2012). Framing the adoption of serious games in formal education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 10(2), 159-171.

Beavis, C., Rowan, L., Dezuanni, M., McGillivray, C., O’Mara, J., Prestridge, S., … Zagami, J. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about the possibilities and limitations of digital games in classrooms. E-Learning and Digital Media, 11(6), 569–581. doi:10.2304/elea.2014.11.6.569

Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Review, (20), 16-18.

The following critical review will analyse and evaluate three articles that discuss trends in game based learning (GBL). The review will seek to outline each article’s purpose as well as their major strengths and weaknesses before synthesising the major themes present within the work.


At it’s core, Arnab et al.’s (2012) article ‘Framing the adoption of serious games in formal education’ aims to raise awareness of game based learning so that more educators adopt this practice in a formal learning environment. The work, derived from eight different authors, recommends that educators embrace a “multifaceted view” on the subject in order to attain a  “deeper understanding” (Arnab et al., 2012, p. 168) and thereby move beyond inhibitors to adopting this approach. Through crystallizing the role of the educator and implementation strategies, Arnab et al. cover a range of topics including pedagogical approaches and applications to formal settings.


The discussion centering on the nature of games and their pedagogical underpinnings was particularly effective. Drawing from Kebritchi and Hirumi (2008), the authors were able to establish the pedagogical classifications that were at the crux of game design and therefore position educators to see the value in games. The authors reinforce this by noting that the study is a, “useful reference point” for those seeking to research further (Arnab et al., 2012, p. 161).


Although not completely tainting the article, Arnab et al.’s (2012) decision to include the flawed, “digital native” narrative in the abstract, casted doubt on the authors and punctuated several other shortcomings of this piece. Claiming that Serious Games (SG) “offer the chance to ‘hook’ today’s (largely) digital native generation of learners” (p. 159) implied that the loud and generally accepted criticism of Prensky (2001) by Bennett, Maton and Kervin (2008), Guo, Dobson and Petrina (2008), and Helpsper and Eynon (2010) were largely ignored by Arnab et al. This initial blunder offsets the reader, causing them to view the remainder of the article through a critical lense.


More concerning is the article’s failure to emphasise the socio-cultural context which plays a pivotal role in the success or failure of the learning. Admittedly, Arnab et al. (2012) barely address it through the inclusion of Four Dimension Model under the heading of “learner specifications” (p. 162). When this is explained further, the discussion merely notes that it involves the “elicitation of the characteristics defining learner populations” (p. 162). Here, a more robust discussion would benefit educators as it is necessary for them to be aware that factors such as a “shared cultural background” (Montola, 2012, p. 314) or gender and class (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 577; Beavis & Charles, 2007) can directly impact the outcome of the GBL trial.


The implementation strategies suggested by Arnab et al. unfortunately falls short for many in the K-12 education setting. Their decision to focus on 21st century skills (ex. collaboration) as a primary implementation strategy leaves out the content knowledge required by the curriculum. This approach endorsed by Gee (2007) has students immersed in the game context and developing new literacy skills. A more favorable approach, heralded by Squire (2011), yields content knowledge as well as skill (p. 15). Though it’s acknowledged that Arnab et al. (2012) believe that “considerable benefit would be gained from aligning with games with the curriculum” (p. 163), it’s disappointing that one of the suggested strategies didn’t focus on it. This may reflect the difficulties educators have when trying to incorporate both (Jan, 2013, para. 23).


The article “Teachers’ beliefs about the possibilities and limitations of digital games in classrooms” seeks to address the “uncritical stance”, in some literature regarding “the role of context and the ways in which teachers impact upon what games achieve in school” (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 570). Beavis et al.’s (2014) central argument addresses the importance of teachers’ mindset when adopting game based learning into their classroom as its success or failure is “closely tied to the way teachers think about games including what they believe can or cannot be achieved with games and how they believe games should or should not be used” (p. 570). The nine authors’ exploration of the study ‘Serious Play: digital games, learning and literacy for twenty first century schooling’ which examined a range of students and teachers of primary and secondary schools (p. 571), revealed that the teachers surveyed “were overwhelmingly positive about the potential for games to impact positively upon learning environments” (p. 576) citing students’ ability to use them to build new skills and knowledge (p. 576).


While this cross section of teachers’ mindsets remained primarily positive, the study raised concerns about teachers’ naivety about the importance of their involvement within the learning process. Beavis et al. (2014) drew upon this overtly positive belief in the “almost magical properties of games to engage, inspire and teach students” (p. 577) as justification for their argument to call for effective professional development and attention to the pedagogical strategies that are drawn from when determining how games are used (p. 577). This suggestion would also relate to the teachers whose discussion revealed that they were more focused on game use to improve skill rather than content. Beavis et al. (2014) notes that “widespread agreement that every curriculum area could find a way to work with digital games” (p. 577) and therefore should also be a focus.


The authors’ abilities to identify the void in the teachers’ knowledge and practice would also be seen in their evaluation of their students’ learning contexts. Variations in socio-economics as well as differences in gender, and cultural background can have “a profound impact upon how/when/why students would be engaged or motivated in working with specific games” (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 577). This ethos reflects the first of the core practices of ‘The Game School’ where it is acknowledged and valued that learner identity is complex (Salen, Torres, & Wolozin, 2008, p. 7).


There are three fundamental shortcomings with this piece. Firstly, while the data collected does come from a range of sources at differing levels of primary and secondary education, it fails to account for the actual impact of teachers’ mindset on game based learning because the study uses only “phase one” of the project (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 571). A more comprehensive approach may have examined the impacts of this grounded yet optimistic mindset on the units being studied. Secondly, the teachers that opted in to the ‘Serious Games’ study were already part of an organisation that felt favorably towards GBL. Therefore, the result of being ‘grounded and optimistic’ cannot be applied to the country, but only towards schools that already value GBL. It is also interesting to note that Beavis et al.’s (2014) results contrast to Bourgonjon et al.’s (2013) study that identified teachers’ perceptions that games couldn’t help their job performance (Bourgonjon et al., 2013, p. 31). Finally, the strong criticism centering on the assumptions about Prensky’s (2001) ‘digital natives’ that were directed towards Arnab et al. (2012) also applies to these authors as they make similar assumptions. All of these impact the usefulness of Beavis et. al’s analysis.


This objective article, ‘Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless’, written by Richard Van Eck (Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning at the University of North Dakota), carefully relates the challenges and opportunities associated with Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) with application to formal education. The context of GBL in 2006 moved Van Eck to write the article, citing an ideal climate that was drawn from an increase in research, the growing popularity of games and problems associated with Digital Natives (p. 17). The author may be forgiven for his misplaced views on Digital Natives, something he later acknowledged, noting that they were “not necessarily the video game savants we assumed they would be” (Van Eck, 2015, p. 14).


Van Eck’s (2006) argument advocating DGBL centres around why it is effective and engaging, and how it can be leveraged, integrated and supported (p. 18). This piece draws its strength from its grounding in pedagogical discourse. The somewhat “skeptical” audience Van Eck (2006) was writing for still needed to be convinced of DGBL’s validity and base in the principles of learning (p. 18). Therefore, the author’s powerful discussion of situated cognition, assimilation, accommodation and cognitive disequilibrium effectively positioned the more critical educators to listen attentively to the entirety of his argument (p. 18-19).


Van Eck’s (206) balanced analysis of the ways educators can integrate DGBL into the learning process logically discussed the strengths and weakness of each method. While this may seem basic, his audience, who were realistically still early adopters to DGBL (Novak and Nackerud, 2011, p. 292), would benefit from this breakdown of sorts. Noting the problems of time restraint and quality around student designed games, Van Eck (2006) saw more potential in either a partnership between educators and designers to create the games, or the adoption of commercial, off the shelf games (COTS). This analysis remains accurate in the current discussion of DGBL (Van Eck, 2015. P. 18)


The real strength of Van Eck’s (2006) discussion was in his delineation of the considerations required for implementing COTS games into the classroom. Beginning with an acknowledgement of the wider factors outside the teacher’s control (harkening to an awareness of equity and socio-cultural influences), the author touched upon the choice of game, aligning with the curriculum and content, and designing and evaluating the game. The latter section was of particular note as its discussion centred on keeping students in a state of “flow” (p. 26). Current research confirms the value of such discussion as it has been maintained that DGBL moderately enhances flow experiences (Chaing, Liang, and Lin, 2017, p. 223; McGonigal, 2011) where learning is immersive (Van Eck, 2006, p. 26). Problems arise in COTS when fail to accurately address content (Van Eck, 2006, p. 26). Van Eck (2006) is aware of these potential gaps or errors and therefore encourages students to perform activities as the character that are “authentic to the goals of the game world” (p. 26) and addresses these inadequacies in game content. Developing budgets for characters (p. 26) and other tangible suggestions to aid students remaining in flow offered by Van Eck equips educators with sound tactics to employ COTS games in the classroom. This poignant advice builds confidence of those new to DGBL and makes a strong case for employing this practice.




Although not necessarily directed at the same audiences, when juxtaposed, the articles revealed commentary and analysis of similar themes within the field of GBL. The role of the teacher and the importance of pedagogical grounding, standout as predominant issues raised within the articles.

All texts concur that the role of the teacher is pivotal within GBL. Beavis et al. (2014) sets up this argument by identifying a flawed common perspective that some games are considered “inherently appealing knowledge packages that will generate learning across all student cohorts” (p. 569) thereby limiting the role of the educator. Beavis et al. (2014) effectively disputes this noting that it “marginalises… the ways in which teachers impact upon what games achieve in school” (p. 570). Arnab et al.’s (2012) discussion focuses more on the increased responsibility within the role of a teacher’s explaining that it has changed from being that of a mere information provider to being required to often switch between the roles of “instructional designers, strong team players, critical self analysts, confident risk takers, and path finding innovators pedagogically open to new ways of approaching curriculum” (p. 165). Van Eck’s (2006) explanation of the teacher’s role outlines the design choices and implementation strategies that are ultimately left to teachers. While Beavis et al. (2014) places emphasis on the pre-instruction phases, Arnab et al (2012) and Van Eck’s (2006) discussion largely centers upon the co-instructional phase.


The authors undoubtedly agree on the importance of educators’ understanding that effective GBL is built on sound pedagogical principles. Arnab et al.’s (2012) discussion of game design and deployment (previously alluded to in the article analysis) was foundational as they solidified their readers’ understanding that games could be created using a general framework with learning outcomes in mind and later classified by their pedagogical underpinning to guide educators’ potential implementation (p. 161). Van Eck’s (2006) article does much to reify these understandings further as he methodically outlines the process of implementing DGBL using COTS and sound pedagogy. Echoing this line of thinking, Beavis et al. (2012) note “attention needs to be paid to the pedagogical strategies and views of learning that teachers draw upon to work with games” (p. 577). The collective readings of this review do much to give faith to GBL in terms of pedagogical grounding.



 It is easy to get seduced by the attractive features of GBL.  Beavis et al.’s (2012) article grounds readers to pertinent issues within the pre-instruction phase of the experience. Their focus on context and the elements missing from the mindset of educators looking to adopt GBL, make this piece an important starting point for adopters of all educational contexts.

Written using a causal tone, Van Eck’s (2006) article provides tangible (and still pertinent) advice for those looking to implement GBL in their classroom which make his article worth reading. Despite being targeted at those in higher education, the piece would also be applicable in the K-12 context.

Arnab et al.’s (2012) multifaceted examination of GBL was for the most part, on point in regard to making those interested in adopting GBL aware of some of the considerations that would have to be made. While more tangible implementation suggestions would have been an asset, this article does provide workable frameworks that are beneficial to anyone in a formal education setting.





Arnab, S., Berta, R., Earp, J., De Freitas, S., Popescu, M., Romero, M., … & Usart, M. (2012). Framing the adoption of serious games in formal education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 10(2), 159-171.

Beavis, C., Rowan, L., Dezuanni, M., McGillivray, C., O’Mara, J., Prestridge, S., … Zagami, J. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about the possibilities and limitations of digital games in classrooms. E-Learning and Digital Media, 11(6), 569–581. doi:10.2304/elea.2014.11.6.569

Beavis, C. & Charles, C. (2007) Would the ‘Real’ Girl Gamer Please Stand Up? Gender, LAN Cafes and the Reformulation of the ‘Girl’ Gamer, Gender and Education, 19(6), 691-705.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The “Digital Natives” Debate: A Critical Review of the Evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775–786. Retrieved from

Bourgonjon, J., De Grove, F., De Smet, C., Van Looy, J., Soetaert, R., & Valcke, M. (2013). Acceptance of game-based learning by secondary school teachers. Computers & Education, 67, 21–35.

Chang, C.-C., Liang, C., Chou, P.-N., & Lin, G.-Y. (2017). Is game-based learning better in flow experience and various types of cognitive load than non-game-based learning? Perspective from multimedia and media richness. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 218–227.

Gee, J. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Guo, R. X., Dobson, T., & Petrina, S. (2008). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants: An Analysis of Age and ICT

Competency in Teacher Education. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 38(3), 235–254. Retrieved from

Helsper, E.J. and Eynon, R. (2010). Digital natives: where is the evidence?. British Educational ResearchJournal, 36:3, 503- 520. doi: 10.1080/01411920902989227

Jan, M. (2013). A Literature Review of Game-Based Learning. Retrieved from

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World [Kindle Edition]. Vintage Digital

Montola, M. (2012). Social Constructionism and Ludology Implications for the Study of Games. Simulation & Gaming, 43(3), 300­320.

Novak, K., & Nackerud, R. (2011). Choosing a Serious Game for the Classroom: An Adoption Model for Educators. In M. Ma, A. Oikonomou, & L. C. Jain (Eds.), Serious Games and Edutainment Applications (pp. 291–308). Springer London. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon, 9(5), 1­6.

Salen, K., Torres, R., & Wolozin, L. (). The Game School Planning Document: Draft1.0. Retrieved from

Squire, K. (2011). Video games and learning: Teaching and participatory culture in the digital age. New York: Teachers College Press.


Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Review, (20), 16-18.


Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 2


For the most part, we live in a country of gamers. The Digital Australia Report (2016) identifies that both “68% of Australians play video games” and that “98% of homes with children have computer games”(p. 5). This data shouldn’t be perceived as isolated but a reflection of current global trends (Horizon Report, 2014, p.38). Educators have sought to capitalise on this boom and increasingly seeking ways to incorporate Game Based Learning (GBL) into their classrooms. The question remains,  are they fully aware of the implications and effects GBL?   


King, Delfabbro and Griffiths (2010) expand upon research that identified a link between the structural elements shared between gambling machines and video games. They modified a framework initiated by Wood et al. (2004) and “reorganis[ed] some features into new categories as well as suggest[ed] additional features in light of recent theory and research findings”(King, Delfabbro and Griffiths, 2010, p. 92). They include the following features social, manipulation and control, narration and identity, reward and punishment and presentation (King, Delfabbro and Griffiths, 2010, p. 92).


King et al., (2010) main line of argumentation calls researchers to understand the potential psychological effects that games can induce while highlighting both positive and negative reactions. Their framework hopes to aid further research in this area. The next section of this post will seek to highlight some of the positive impacts and hazards for teaching and learning.


In terms of teaching and learning, the social features of games mimic much of what building a personal learning network encapsulates. King asserts that a cooperative and competitive community of players can assist players in knowledge acquisition(p. 93).


The manipulation and control feature highlights the importance of self-management. While gamers can learn master the game they also need to be mindful of when it’s time to save and quit. King et al., (2010) note that excessive game players have difficulty stopping playing when their resources are low (p. 96) This is likened to when gambling addicts play too long and lose their money.


This extended play seems to be a reoccurring theme in terms of both positive impacts and hazards for teaching and learning. While with the narrative and identity features allow players to be immersed in their game’s story(p. 97), propelling students to greater depths understanding of the subjects’ themes and characters, the rewards and punishment features clearly link to gambling’s near misses and achievement points that excite players into continuing to play long past when they should quit (p. 100).

The noteworthy concerns raised by King et al., (2010) should be heeded by educators that are planning to explore GBL. Without giving careful consideration to the potential psychological impacts of the structural features of games, educators are making this important decision with a few cards short of a full hand.  



Brand, E, J. & Todhunter, S. (2016). “Digital Australia Report 2016”. Retrieved from

King, D., Delfabbro, P., & Griffiths, M. (2010). Video Game Structural Characteristics: A New Psychological Taxonomy. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 8(1), 90–106.

NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. (2015). Retrieved from

Wood, R. T. A., Griffiths, M. D., Chappell, D., & Davies, M. N. O. (2004). The structural characteristics of video games: A psycho-structural analysis. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7, 1–10. doi:10.1089/109493104322820057.

The Kids are Still Playing Games



Sitting in my ICTAG (Information Communications Technology Action Group) meeting this afternoon, I heard a complaint:

… but the kids are still playing games!

My school has been 1-1 with Macbooks for the last five or so years and teachers’ general perception is that games are a distraction or a reward for work finished early.


“Can’t games build critical thinking and collaboration skills? Isn’t this something that we should encourage?” I said.


My remark was taken purely as jest.


I think that says a lot about the state of Game-Based Learning (GBL) in my current educational context.   


It’s difficult for school leaders to put stock in something that’s relatively murky in terms of its research and application.


Dr. Catherine Beavis’ assertion that “schools still have a way to go before they can harness the full educational potential of video games” (Jennings, 2014, para. 5) resonates within this context.


I believe in its potential because I feel like I’ve learned from games. I’ve thought critically while building up my armies in Sid Meier’s Civilisation. I’ve communicated while playing diplomacy. Heck, I’ll even admit to collaborating and communicating to take out some zombies in Call of Duty…  But like Beavis, I don’t think games are currently being used to their potential within the educational context.


Once recognised as a tool to develop twenty-first century skills, GBL should be more adopted into the classroom. The YouTube video “How games prepare you for life – Education: 21st Century Skills” makes a solid point where it argues that it’ll be up to teachers to make knowledge and skills acquired from the games meaningful.


So what is the context for my learning?


In a regional Victorian setting, I’m the curriculum head of Humanities and Technology at my secondary school and I feel as though I’m often at the forefront adopting technology into the classroom.


This is my third last subject for this Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) and on account of that, I’m bringing knowledge of twenty-first century pedagogy and it’s importance in today’s classroom.


How do I see games fitting into my practice?


I’ve already incorporated games into my classroom over the years with varying degrees of success. Admittedly, at times it seemed to be a more willy-nilly application than calculated, planned usage. It was more used as a tool of engagement rather than consciously building twenty-first century skills. The latter is something that I’m obviously hoping to improve upon.


What are my personal aims in this subject


I’m hoping this subject serves as a launching pad into more considered use of games in the classroom. I wish to engage with the research that supports this type of learning and thereby equips me with the data to justify a more widespread promotion/adoption of GBL at my school.


I’m also looking to explore different games and their platforms.  


What challenges are you hoping to meet for yourself?


Successfully completing a Masters’ subject while working full time and juggling a busy family schedule is always a great starting point for semester goals. In addition, I wish to

  • Challenge myself to be fully immersed within this subject; allotting time to experiment and play with games
  • Conduct action research within my setting that will add to the professional dialogue surrounding GBL
  • Expand my professional learning network to include GBL innovators and practitioners



Extra Credits. (2014). Extra Credits – How Games Prepare You for Life – Education: 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from


Jennings, J. (2014, November 20). ‘Teachers re-evaluate value of video games’ [Digital Newspaper Article], The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from: