1st Edition

Games as Transformative Experiences for Critical Thinking, Cultural Awareness, and Deep Learning Strategies & Resources

By David Seelow Copyright 2023
    376 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    376 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    All games are potentially transformative experiences because they engage the player in dynamic action. When repurposed in an educational context, even highly popular casual games played online to pass the time can engage players in a way that deepens learning. Games as Transformative Experiences for Critical Thinking, Cultural Awareness, and Deep Learning: Strategies & Resources examines the learning value of a wide variety of games across multiple disciplines.

    Organized just like a well-made game, the book is divided into four parts highlighting classroom experiences, community and culture, virtual learning, and interdisciplinary instruction. The author crosses between the high school and college classroom and addresses a range of disciplines, both online and classroom practice, the design of curriculum, and the transformation of assessment practices.

    In addition to a wealth of practical exercises, resources, and lesson ideas, the book explains how to use a wide and diverse range of games from casual to massively multiplayer online games for self-improvement as well as classroom situations.

    Introduction: The Transformative Potential of Games for Learning

    Part I Games as Transformative Classroom Experiences

    Chapter One My Favorite Game: The Power of Personal Learning

    Chapter Two Ask the Sphinx: Powerup Student Motivation with Superpower Challenges

    Chapter Three Gen Con in the Classroom: Board Games for Learning

    Chapter Four Video Games in the English Classroom; Supercharging Critical Literacy

    Chapter Five Playing through Stories: Teaching Interactive Narrative

    Part II Games as Transformative Experiences in Community and Culture

    Chapter Six Using a Game to Counter Prejudice, Biases, and Discrimination Against the Trans community: If Found and Transformative Storytelling

    Chapter Seven "Smart Bets" Balancing Uncertainty with Clear Thinking: Annie Duke’s Poker Skills for Everyday Life

    Chapter Eight Chess for Self, School & Society

    Chapter Nine War from the Other Side: Playing Games to Save Democracy

    Chapter Ten The Child as Mother to Man: A Game for Saving Nature

    Chapter Eleven Turning Strangers into Neighbors: Improving the World through a Game of Gratitude

    Part 3 Casual Games as Transformative Online Experiences

    Chapter Twelve Three Small Games for Big Learning in Math and Physics

    Chapter Thirteen Playing Small Business Owners: Teaching Management, Self-Efficacy, and Authentic Skills through Casual Games

    Chapter Fourteen Teaching Teamwork with a Public Health Game

    Chapter Fifteen There is an Imposter ‘Among Us’:

    Teaching the Truth in the time of "The Big Lie"

    Chapter Sixteen Teaching Tragedy in Real Time: The Syrian Refugee Crisis

    Chapter Seventeen Games for College Orientation: Social Emotional Learning

    Part IV Playing Across Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Instruction with Film, Games, and Literature

    Chapter Eighteen Teaching the Disclosure Scene:

    Empathy and Understanding for Trans people

    Chapter Nineteen Teaching Over the Top:

    The Great War through a Game, painting, Poem, and Superhero Film

    Chapter Twenty How ‘Memoirs’ about the Iranian Revolution

    Can Help Change Perceptions of the Muslim as ‘Other’

    Chapter Twenty One Teaching about Pandemics during a Pandemic

    Conclusion A Short Hike to the Top of the Mountain: Teaching the Transcendent  or Walking the Dog

    Works Cited



    David Seelow has taught in higher education continually since 1989 at both public and private colleges ranging from top tier research universities to community colleges. He has also taught several years in public school and holds 4 permanent education licenses from New York State, which has the most rigorous licensure requirements of any state in the nation. Dr. Seelow founded the Center for Game and Simulation-Based Learning based in Albany, New York, as well as an award-winning Online Writing Lab. Dr. Seelow has taught online course for 15 years, designed several online courses and developed entire online programs, all of which give the book and added appeal during a time when many schools rely on virtual and blended learning models. He has a certificate in game design and has published and presented nationally and internationally on games in learning, the humanities, and education. His previous books on Radical Modernism and Sexuality (Palgrave MacMillan, 2005), the well-reviewed Lessons Drawn: Essays on the Pedagogy of Comics and Graphic Novels (McFarland, 2019) and Game Based Classroom: Practical Strategies for Grades 6-12 (Routledge, Eye on Education series, 2021).

    "I would posit that David Seelow should be esteemed in the same way we treat John Paul Gee, Jane McGonigal, Jesse Schell, and Lee Sheldon. The book contains significant benefits and is well worth the investment of time and money required to acquire and read the book. This book is highly recommended if you are looking to experiment with GBL in the classroom, either via online, virtual, or hybrid approaches. You will find a wide range of successfully applied games that could be used to stimulate your learners’ interest in achieving a deeper level of learning."

    - Michael J. D. Sutton, Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching