ETEC 565S: Digital Games, Learning & Pedagogy

Explore the Pedagogies that Support Playing and Making Digital Games for the Classroom

Digital games – the creative medium of the 21st century – are played on phones, tablets and dedicated desktops and consoles by millions of adults and children worldwide. They are also the single fastest growing creative industry on the planet: in North America, the digital games market is expected to grow up to 10% (across all sectors – mobile, PC and console) in 2019 alone. Concomitantly, education authorities, and teachers in particular, have been slow not only to understand the educational value of digital games, but also to integrate these media in teaching and learning ecologies.


July 6-10, 2020

This institute will take place synchronously, asynchronously and virtually, using a variety of collaboration tools. Expect to spend at least part of each day from July 6 to 10th in synchronous meetings/break out groups with peers and/or instructors. 


This Institute addresses a large gap borne out by recent research on digital games and learning: teachers, who by and large have limited to no experience of digital games, also struggle to recognize, and, therefore have little idea how to assess, what is being learned through playing them. By bridging this gap, the Institute also addresses one of the core initiatives of the redesigned B.C. curriculum – digital literacies. Not all children and youth have played digital games, yet it is the modus operandi of the 21st century, used in training, jobs, and social and cultural life.

The questions this Institute will address are: How, and why, do we create learning environments that support both play and making digital games? How do we recognize, document and assess engagement and learning through digital game play? And what are the creative and computational possibilities of learning through making games? This Institute will establish a foundation for participants to answer these questions through an intensive, week-long immersion in digital games, learning and pedagogy.


What will you do? You will play games, talk about games, review games, read literature on games and learning, and experiment (safety net deployed) with making your own game in small groups. In the end, you will leave with a games and learning unit (if you are a teacher) to take into your own classroom and try on your own.


Dr. Jen Jenson

“I started thinking about technology and its links to education and gender way back when Sun Microsystems was a hot tech company in Silicon Valley and I went and spent a summer as an intern there. Even today, the challenges remain the same — how to better support women and girls’ access and skill development related to digital technologies generally, and videogames in particular as they are posed to be the creative industry of the 21st century.”

Read more about Dr. Jensen.

Dr. Suzanne De Castell

“I’ve always been fascinated by edges and barriers, borders, and limits—mostly how to skate along edges, break down barriers, cross borders and test limits. Since joining the academy as a beginning assistant professor at SFU (in 1978!) my primary interests have been in critical media and communications studies, in understanding how the tools we use shape—and greatly limit—the ways we think as well as what and how we communicate. I’m especially interested in “pedagogic communications”, that is, in how education has been and continues to be shaped by both traditional and emerging, leading edge, media for learning.”

Read more about Dr. De Castell.