Age of Empires
Age of Empires is a series of
video games developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The first title of the series was Age of Empires, released in 1997. Since then, seven titles and three spin-offs have been released. The titles are historical real-time strategy games, and could be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. Age of Empires Onlinehas just been released, combining real-time strategy into an MMO environment.
Suitable for: Grade 4 - Year 10
Resources: Enhancing the social studies curriculum through play -
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Buzz: Brain of OzPacked with thousands of questions on various aspects of Australia, Buzz!: Brain Of Oz is available on PlayStation 3 (PS3), PlayStation 2 and PSP. You'll find questions on diverse aspects of Australian life: there'll be questions on bands, cities, sports personalities, television favourites, wildlife, food and more. A great activity for literacy in the classroom, students develop skills in working in teams as well as reading comprehension. Other games in the series include Buzz: The Big Quiz, Buzz: The Music Quiz and Buzz: The Schools Quiz.
Suitable for: Grade 1 - Year 12 (Most Buzz games are rated G, Buzz of Oz is rated PG).
Resources: Activity ideas for further learning from the use of video games in the classroom -
The game's objective is to " an empire to stand the test of time". The game begins in 4000 BC, and the players attempt to expand and develop their empires through the ages until modern and near-future times. There have been several sequels to Civilization, including Civilization II, Civilization III, Civilization IV, Civilization Revolution, and Civilization V. The last of these, Civilization V, is stated to be released in North America on September 21, 2010 and internationally on September 24, 2010. This series of games has been used as part of secondary history classes as both a stimulus for discussion and as a means of providing students with an opportunity to develop conceptual understandings relating to geography, world history and politics.
Suitable for: Grade 5 - Adult
Resources: CivWorld - (You need to register to get access to teaching materials)
Reading Engagement -
Civilization Classroom Project -
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator has been used widely in classrooms to teach a broad range of mathematical, geographical and spatial concepts. At Coolum State High School in Queensland, students have used this game to develop skills and knowledge across a number of key learning areas. As part of a recent unit on Catchment Care, students used the game to navigate around the Caloundra to Noosa region to mark areas that defined where different catchment areas were. They were able to see the presence of hills and mountains and this enabled them to see in 3D how the catchment systems are created at the sources and how topography affects the flow of the waterways. (
Suitable for: Year 7 - 12
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Big Brain AcademyThe second title in Nintendo's series of brain games, Big Brain Academy trains your brain with a course load of mind-bending activities across five categories: think, memorize, analyze, compute, and identify. It is available on Nintendo Wii and DS. Players are challenged in a test of fast-paced activities to determine their "brain weight", areas of strength and weakness, and which occupation or famous personality best compares to their brain weight score.
Suitable for: Grade 3 - Year 10
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Dr Kawashima's Brain Training
Brain Training for the Nintendo DS handheld has been inspired by the work of prominent Japanese neuroscientist, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima. Brain Training features activities designed to help stimulate your brain and give it the workout it needs live solving simple maths problems, counting people going in and out of a house simultaneously, drawing pictures on the touch screen and reading classic literature out loud. This software has been trialled with middle phase learning support students to explore the impact it can have on improving memory.
Suitable for: All ages
Resources: Details of a study of the use of Dr Kawashima's Brain Training with students for improved maths outcomes -
Little Big Planet
LBP uses the Playstation 3’s multiplayer functionality - not only do students have to communicate and collaborate to solve problems within the game, but it then allows for students to be level designers and developers. The game includes an accurate physics engine that allows for exploration of a host of physical and mathematical concepts such as force, momentum, gravity, drift, scale and radius, to name a few. This initiative covers many other VELS domains and includes scope for cross-curricular opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Suitable for: Grade 1 - Year 11
Resources: Brainy Gamer - Little Big Planet -
Little Big Planet sales figures -
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Starting the game, a player begins with a single celled organism which they need to evolve. At critical points you will have control over what the organism eats, how it hunts to survive and what other organisms it crosses with, allowing it to evolve and change, gaining new traits. Eventually, your single celled creature becomes a multi celled creature, which builds a civilization for itself, gains new technologies such as spacecraft and then travels the stars to other planets. Great to use as a vehicle for teaching science concepts.
Suitable for: Grade 5 - Year 11
Resources: Spore: Origins is an app available on ipad/itouch. Lesson plans -
TED talk demo of Spore -
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Age of Mythology
Age of Mythology is a mythology-based real time strategy game where you become either the greeks, the eygptians or the norse. Great to use as a vehicle for history, mythology, literacy and even science and engineering.
Suitable for: Grade 5 - Year 12
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Guitar Hero
The Guitar Hero series (sometimes referred to as the Hero series) is a series of music video games first published in 2005 by RedOctane and Harmonix Music Systems, and distributed by Activision, in which players use a guitar-shaped game controller to simulate playing lead, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar across numerous rock music songs.
Suitable for: All ages
Learning and Teaching Scotland Case Study -
Guitar Hero at MGS -
Guitar Hero Teaching Resources -
Other learning activities for guitar hero -
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Endless Ocean
Endless Ocean places the player in the role of a scuba diver exploring the Manaurai sea in search of sea life and sunken treasure under the guidance of an assistant named Catherine Sunday. In the sea, they will encounter a number of marine species ranging from smaller fish and penguins to massive whale sharks, manta rays and humpback whales. The range of marine wildlife in the game is extensive and includes many common and rare species.
Suitable for: All ages
The Endless Ocean, Situated Learning & James Gee -
Using Endless Ocean in the Classroom -
Teaching resources and documents -
Endless Ocean and Endless Learning -
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From Dust
From Dust lets you play god, protecting the inhabitants of an island from natural disaster.
Suitable for: All ages
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Mario Kart
Mario Kart is a series of go-kart-style racing video games developed by Nintendo as a series of spin-offs from its trademark Mario series of platformer adventure-style video games. The series debuted in 1992 with critical and commercial success. Could be used as a vehicle for literacy, mathematics and creativity.
Suitable for: All ages
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Nintendogs is a real-time pet simulation video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console.
Resources: GBL project -
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Terraria is a land of adventure! A land of mystery! A land that's yours to shape, to defend and to enjoy. Your options in Terraria are limitless, are you an action gamer with an itchy trigger finger? A master builder? A collector? An explorer? There's something for everyone here.
Portal & Portal 2
Portal is quite simply the most powerful tool to engage students in STEM. From Newtonian mechanics to modern physics, Valve has made Portal and Portal 2 the most compelling online learning spaces that currently exist of the teaching and learning of STEM.
Suitable for: All Ages
Resources:Portal 2 Authoring Tools -
Think With Portals -
Learn With Portals -
Cameron Pittmans Physics with Portals blog -