Video Games as Innovative Teaching

One of the topics discussed by Clayton Christensen in his book, Disrupting Class:  How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (2011), focuses on the use of video games in the classroom (p. 220).  This struck a chord with me, because prior to my position as Sand Springs Virtual Academy Director, I worked as a professional development trainer for teachers.  One of the classes I created in this position focused on the use of video games as a learning tool in the classroom.  Teachers have been using the Wii console as a learning tool in various forms for the past 5 to 6 years.  The class focused on the use of the Wii, but actually led to a greater discussion of online games, computer based games, and video games as training tools in business.   My research led me to read a few books that teachers might find interesting: 

More recently, I ran across this post on the website, Good Education (  It discusses how a teacher is using Angry Birds to teach Physics, and documenting his progress and methods every step of the way. 


As I read through this article, I realized how when we play games like this one, we do a great deal of planning and hypothesizing on the fly without even knowing it.  If kids were to truly dissect a video game like angry birds and apply physics to the situation, it would open up a whole new level of understanding and enjoyment in the subject.

I knew that the use of video games in the classroom was a new trend, and a successful one at that, but I hadn’t really thought of them as a form of disruptive innovation in teaching before.  Now I am paying more attention.  As I look at new teaching methods, I have a different view.  I tend to dissect them, compare them to older methods, and assess whether they are effective.  Guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks.  And I guess as old dogs, we need to keep looking for new tricks.


Christensen, C.M., Horn, M.B., & Johnson, C.W. (2011). Disrupting class: How innovation will change the way the world learns. New York: McGraw Hill.

One comment

  1. The wii also has a weather “channel” that has been a useful tool to me when teaching concepts in meteorology and geography. This was not the purpose the weather channel was designed for, but good teaching requires creative application of whatever tools are available.
    T. Tuell


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