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Gaming is frowned upon at the high school level. How can we turn that gaming interest into a positive in the classroom at this level?

I am a high school teacher. I have many male students that are gamers in my class. It is cases like Columbine that make it difficult for teachers to promote gaming if it contains any violence at all. I would love to find out how to use this interest in gaming to promote higher level learning in my classroom, but many games involve violence--which is a taboo subject in the schools.


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    Mar 17 2011: Check out anything by Jane McGonigal on this site, and read her book. She knows all about changing the world for the better through gaming.

    You don't necessarily have to use the games themselves, but use game-mechanics to make lessons more interesting. Set a clear goal, make up some rules, and have a feedback system. Probably not so much in secondary school, but in primary school they've done away with competition, grading and goals. Kids have no idea that what they're doing is important and just a step in gaining properly interesting knowledge. Once I told my kids there was such a thing as reading levels and that he was on the lowest one, he was a lot more motivated to level up!

    Otherwise, in the current Call of Duty there are things like CoD money and Wager matches. Could be interesting to learn about money, probabilities, investment/risk... Also, in World of Warcraft, there are plenty of opportunities to explore geography, trade/supply and demand/business, strategy, planning, group and team work etc.

    If you want to use games, you're going to have to play them to gain an understanding of how they work. Just pasting a pretend interest in gaming onto your lessons won't work, but it doesn't sound like that's what you meant. Well done.

    I've also spotted some common misconceptions in your question. Ask the girls in your class what games they play, because they are as likely to be gamers as the boys! Also, plenty if not most games are not violent at all. There are loads of non-violent games, they just get less publicity.

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