Game Based Learning: Selected Resources

If you want to learn about games in educational settings or are an educator that wants to learn how to design them, you can (and probably will) do a Google search to see what’s out there! This dynamic and changing guide is designed to save you some time and, more importantly, point you towards some of the significant and helpful resources that we find valuable. We provide this to educators in two versions:

  1. A webpage (below) that you can link to and explore, and...
  2. A separate Google Doc version so that, if you want, you can add it to your Drive or make a copy to work with on your own.

Both versions will be updated with new resources throughout the year. If you have items you’d like to share with us (or other thoughts about this guide), please send them to

Game Based Learning Resources for Educators

  • Article: This perfect starter article from EdSurge will introduce you to why and how GBL can be used in the classroom and help you with a few basic suggestions of games to try out yourself and with students to get your feet wet.

  • Website: Edutopia collects resources on just about everything happening in education and games are no different. Here is a collection of some of their recent pieces on game based learning and game design use in the classroom. EdSurge’s EdTech Wiki also has a GBL page with their own collection. Both of these are great places to get started.

  • TED Talk/Author: Game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal gave a powerful talk at TED2010 on why she believes that we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems. She is also the author of two NY Times Bestsellers Reality is Broken and Superbetter, that focus on how we can use our strengths in games like optimism, courage, and perseverance, to achieve our goals in real life.

  • Website: Wondering about the difference between Game Based Learning and Gamification? Wonder no more! The differences are explained simply and with resource examples on this ASCD site.

  • Games: For ten years, Filament Games has been building award-winning educational games that consistently demonstrate learning outcomes while remaining engaging and fairly affordable (usually ranging from $2.99 to $5.99 per student account.) They will also partner with educational institutions to build for their specific learning needs.  

  • Games: If you a social studies or history teacher, this is the site for you! Founded by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, around the demonstrated link between civics knowledge and civics engagement, iCivics builds and publishes online games that teach students how government works by having them experience it through simulations. Players can act as judges, lawyers, elected officials, activists, and more to learn about those individuals jobs and responsibilities. Lesson plans and support materials are provided as well.

  • Curriculum Resource: Minecraft EDU has everything you need to get started using Minecraft, a virtual building game in the classroom. The space provides curriculum guides for subject-specific units, directions of how to get started playing Minecraft, videos and case studies from teachers who use the game in class, and a robust discussion forum. This is also where teachers and students can download an education-specific version of the game.

  • Curriculum Resource: WoWinSchool is a curriculum guide for middle school ELA by educators Lucas Gillispie and Craig Lawson. The curriculum draws on the MMORPG World of Warcraft as a learning tool using it along with the J.R.R. Tolkien book The Hobbit and a series of writing assignments to teach about a hero’s journey in a very interactive and multi-faceted way. A companion Wiki also exists.

  • Conference: The annual Games for Change festival held in New York hosts an educator-specific track for those who want to explore what’s new in educational games that year and hear from researchers and designers in the field. Games for change also run trainings on game design for teachers and host student STEM challenges.


Game Design Resources for Educators

  • Book and Website: Read Theory of Fun for Game Design, by Raph Koster, a classic book on game design used in university programs around the country. Koster explains what mechanics make games engaging and successful using both text and images, making this book a great fit for everyone from children to adult game designers.

  • Guide: Game design, just like any design really, is centered around the iterative design thinking process. This guide from the Stanford will walk you through the steps of the design thinking process and outline exactly how and why each one is important. You can use the guide with students, or create a simplified version for them after learning about the process yourself for a game design unit.

  • Article: Hear first-hand from an educator about their experience implementing a board game design unit in the classroom.


With a Jewish Lens

  • Blog Post: After a recent workshop on GBL, here at The Jewish Education Project, several of our teachers used games in their own classrooms. This blog describes their experiences, including two game modifications to create Judaic Studies games based on existing secular board games.

  • Videos: The Jewish Education Project’s Young Pioneer Award recipient, Ariella Fallack, met with educators in the Game Based Learning network once a month to discuss gaming in a Judaic environment. Following a year of learning from guest speakers and each other, participating educations created their own games for the classroom. See and hear about their projects.

  • Games: Games on many topics of Jewish identity, holidays, and prayers are available from Jewish Interactive. Also included is JITap, a tool that allows users to create their own interactive activities.

  • Game: Presented by Frankel Jewish Academy in collaboration with Michigan State University and games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL), Sparks of Eternity is a game aimed at helping students learn rabbinic texts in an adventure format.



Again, if you have resources you’d like to share with us (or other thoughts about this resource guide), please send them to

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