Middle School Journal Volume 39, Number 4, ISSN 0094-0771
During the fall 2005 semester, an eighth grade teacher in a Laramie, Wyoming, middle school made an urgent plea for more progressive tools for a beginning computers course. Janet Johnson, a veteran teacher returning to the classroom after a hiatus of 10 years, was frustrated with the apparent lack of motivation and engagement by the students. She knew the existing curricular materials were outdated and “mind numbing” and was seeking methods more relevant to this generation. In response, the school district decided to try a radical departure by helping Ms. Johnson implement a pilot curriculum built around a commercially available video game. The project was conducted as a pilot to design a unit plan supported and anchored by a video game simulation. Albany County School District in Laramie, Wyoming, has begun to take a hard look at whether teachers' techniques are sufficiently up to date for today's learners and whether the teachers know how to integrate new tools to motivate students. This article describes a pilot project to integrate commercially available video games (games that are not primarily intended as learning tools but have inherent learning value, sometimes referred to as “edutainment” games) into a middle school curriculum to hold students' interest and capitalize on their strengths, while continuing to meet standards. (Contains 5 figures.)
Simpson, E. & Clem, F.A. (2008). Video Games in the Middle School Classroom. Middle School Journal, 39(4), 4-11.