STEM Learning Games and Game Design in ITEST Projects


To share promising strategies in student-focused ITEST experiences with the ITEST community and the STEM education field, the ITEST program has called for reflection on best practices and lessons learned in response to the question, “What coherent sets of experiences effectively and efficiently support student competency (e.g., knowledge, skills), motivation, and persistence for productive participation in the STEM-related workforce of today or in the future?” We address that question in this paper by focusing on ITEST projects that center on STEM learning games and game design.

This paper is based on a review of over 200 publications relating to 110 ITEST projects. Within that set, we identified publications relating to 10 projects that involve STEM learning games and game design experiences for students. The publications demonstrate that game-centered projects have been a constant feature in the ITEST portfolio, from the 2003 start of the program to the present. Further, game-centered projects have been one of the three most prevalent forms of student-focused ITEST projects, along with robotics experiences and projects using mapping technologies such as GIS and GPS. Most game-centered projects focus primarily on students (including pre-service teachers in teacher training programs) and feature some teacher involvement. They take place in both school and out-of-school settings, including afterschool and summer camp environments.

Read our featured post from STELAR Co-PI Carrie Parker, announcing these publications.

View the related STELAR Syntheses:

Authentic Inquiries into Local Issues: Increasing Engagement and Building a Sense of STEM Identity and Agency highlights an additional 12 projects that focused on authentic inquiries using mapping or environmental monitoring.

Engaging Teachers in Supporting Next Generation STEM Learning looks at nine projects that focused primarily on teacher learning.

Promising Approaches to Broadening Youth Participation in STEM describes how 12 grantees designed projects to align with the unique experiences of Native American youth, rural youth, and Latina girls, among others.