Top 7 Edutainment and Entertainment Games to Use in Your Classroom from PAX East 2017

Post in News by JessicaWenke on 27th March 2017

A few pictures from PAX East 2017. PAX conferences are organized by Penny-Arcade, and at PAX East 2017, they showcased the latest games and technology the gaming sector has developed.
A few pictures from PAX East 2017. PAX conferences are organized by Penny-Arcade, and at PAX East 2017, they showcased the latest games and technology the gaming sector has developed.

The Growth of Edutainment and Entertainment Games in the Classroom

Recently, we attended PAX East 2017 in Boston, MA. While it was clear the most popular games involved VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality), we also saw significant growth in edutainment (or entertaining educational games) and using entertainment games for educational purposes. 

As seen in this New York Times article, thought leaders like Bill Gates and the innovative minds behind TED talks, use edutainment to deliver knowledge to the masses. When used correctly, both edutainment and entertainment games can be very effective with students and can inspire critical thinking, collaboration, and more.

If you are considering introducing your students to edutainment or entertainment games, here are the top 7 games we found at this year’s PAX.

Board Games

1. Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes are a great way to spark ideas for creative writing. The basic set comes with nine 6-sided die that have different pictures on each side. Your goal is to create a story that stems from the images seen on the die. You can roll all nine or just one—it’s up to you!

2. The Metagame

The Metagame is a card game in which players pose arguments about culture. These cultural topics include games, films, literature, design and fashion. With ten different games (and growing) to play in one game deck, The Metagame can be valuable in the classroom for two reasons:

  1. It is a flexible teaching tool
  2. It helps students develop cultural literacy.

Print your own prototype here and get started!  

Some of the cards available in The Metagame
Some of the cards available in The Metagame

3. WordWright

Funded by Kickstarter, WordWright is a simple one deck card game. In this game, participants are given different cards with various word parts: prefixes, roots, and suffixes. Their task is to combine these cards as building blocks to create big words.

4. Dragoon

Also funded by Kickstarter, Dragoon is not an obvious game for education. However, gaming in education advocate Ashlee Brandin, made a strong case for it. In her PAX panel, she argued that gaming edutainment can be just as effective, if not more effective than traditional classroom activities, in addressing all of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

A high level of strategy, cooperation, and concentration is needed to play this game in order to help the dragons take over all of the villages. We were captivated by this game and played it several times throughout the weekend. We’re sure you will be too.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 3.01.13 PM
Get ready to strategize with Dragoon!

Virtual Reality Games

5. Job Simulator

Teach students skills they need to survive and thrive after college with VR!

In this game, participants choose from a number of jobs including a desk job, auto mechanic, and chef (just to name a few). Using the simulator, they learn some of the skills needed to thrive in those positions while in a safe, simulated environment.

Console Games

6. The Witness

The Witness is a puzzle-based game that keeps participants motivated by challenging the player with puzzles. This is a great tool to increase strategic thinking and test the mind.

In this game, you are transported to a mysterious island, where you have to solve a series of puzzles that increase in difficulty in order to uncover the mystery of the island.

To see the game in action, watch the video below.

7. Portal

Portal is also a puzzle game meant to test and stretch the mind. In this game, players solve physical puzzles to open portals and maneuver objects. Portal is great for aiding instruction or as a reward when students finish their work. 

To Learn More

If you’re still skeptical or unsure of how to introduce these games to your classroom, keep an eye out for more blogs and courses to come. In the next few months, we will cover

  • Calculated randomness
  • Dissecting edutainment
  • Gaming therapy for social development
  • And teaching probability with game design

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