Gaming is an essential part of young adult culture. Because of this it is extremely important to integrate gamification into the secondary school curriculum. But how?


I am a strong proponent of learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript as part of basic internet literacy standards. I am also an advocate for teaching basic design skills such as using the Adobe Design Suite. In a world where we are expected to create digital content, students should have the tools to be as creative as possible with that content. Yasmin B. Kafai and Quinn Burke agree with this viewpoint. In their article “Constructionist Gaming: Understanding the Benefits of Making Games for Learning” Kafai and Burke advocate for “children’s learning through making their own games” (Kafai & Burke, 2016, para.1). Students should be designing games for other students. This is the most innovative way to learn what students are interested in. This will drive the future of educational gaming. Unfortunately, we are simply not there yet.

Since most students and teachers do not have the skills to program their own games and interactive activities, we must depend upon pre-made games and programs that have no learning curve and are readily accessible. Kelsey Sheehy, in her article “High School Teachers Make Gaming Academic” alludes to several examples where teachers integrate contemporary video games into their curriculum in order to pique interest in learning. Joel Levin, a second grade teacher in New York City, decided to introduce Minecraft as an educational tool in his classroom. He tells, “’There was a part of me that was scared. I didn’t know if the kids would be able to grasp the game and what I was trying to do with it. I thought it would be too much of a distraction, but the opposite happened. It really all clicked. I was incredibly pleased with the results’” (Sheehy, 2011, para.12). Students today would absolutely love it if their teachers tried to integrate Fortnite into their curriculum. Though, integrating conventional video games into education is no easy task, let alone getting it approved by the administration.

Here are a few great game sites that require no learning curve to create and/or play:


Students absolutely love Kahoot! Teachers can create quizzes, jumbles, discussions or surveys which are accessed through the student’s mobile phone. This site has a nice modern interface and is easy to use. I have even seen students use it to create quizzes and games for their school club meetings or for studying with friends.


Quizlet is wonderful for both teachers and students alike. Quizlet is best known for creating flashcards and study sets. It is great for studying for vocabulary tests, memorizing character traits, and general facts. It also integrates with many learning management systems.


Flippity is a great free site which allows teachers to create customized crossword puzzles, word searches, bingo, a quiz show, a memory game and a random name picker to assist with oral participation activities. The crossword puzzles and word searches cannot be used online, but they can be created online. It is fun to tinker with some of their applications.


Quizizz is a gamified quiz creation app. It makes quizzes more fun with timers, music, memes, images and a class leader board for competition. Quizizz has apps for iOS, Android and Chrome. It also easily integrates with Google Classroom. If you don’t want to create your own quiz, Quizizz has hundreds of previously made quizzes to choose from.


There are fun free brain teaser / speed games on Lumosity. It has a nice interface and scaffolds learning by age. In order to access all of the games you need a paid subscription, but some are free when you sign up. It is worth checking this site out.


Brain Pop has many free games relating to the subjects of History and English. These games are really cool because they are more closely aligned to mainstream gaming. Some of the games require FlashPlayer and are a little dated. However, others are HTML friendly and can be played on any web browser or mobile phone. Here is a list of those games:
After the Storm – Run an online news magazine after a huge hurricane hits town. You’ll interview locals, edit stories and social media, plus manage your staff!
Quandary – Shape the future of a new society while recognizing ethical issues and making decisions based on evidence and differing points of view.
Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case – When some mysterious artifacts show up at the History Museum, you must unravel the clues to find the real stories behind the artifacts.


Like its name implies, iCivics is geared more towards social studies than ELA. However, everyone knows there is a strong overlap between social studies and English classes. There are some really engaging games on this site that would be beneficial to debate, socratic seminar, critical thinking, journalism and discussion in general. Here are some of the relevant games:

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