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Game-Based Learning

What is Game-Based Learning?

Game based learning is an active learning technique where games are used to enhance student learning. Here, the learning comes from playing the game and promote critical thinking and problem solving skills. Eventually students move onto designing their own games to demonstrate mastery of content.
Designed from the ground up by a team of educators, researchers, and game designers, and firmly grounded in over thirty years of learning research, Quest to Learn re-imagines school as one node in an ecology of learning that extends beyond the four walls of an institution and engages kids in ways that are exciting, empowering and culturally relevant.
At Quest to Learn, learning happens by doing.
We were being responsive to a need we saw… young people were being disengaged from school
Katie Salen-Tekinbas, Co-Founder of Quest to Learn

What does this look like in the classroom?

Game-based learning takes a variety of forms at Quest to Learn. For instance, in ninth grade Biology, students spend the year as workers in a fictional bio-tech company, and their job is to clone dinosaurs and create stable ecosystems for them. By inhabiting the role of biotech scientists, the students learn about genetics, biology and ecology.
Educational games are at the core of Quest’s curriculum. Sixth graders use Dr. Smallz, where they play the role of designers, scientists, doctors and detectives as they explore cellular biology and the human body. And ninth graders use Storyweavers, a collaborative storytelling role-playing game. These games not only engage students in the learning process, but also allow teachers to assess students in real time and provide feedback on learning experiences immediately. For more on how Quest to Learn uses games for assessment, please visit the Edutopia link here.

The 7 Principles of Learning at Quest to Learn:

  1. Everyone is a participant A shared culture and practice exists where everyone contributes. This often means that different students contribute different types of expertise.
  2. Challenge Challenge is constant. A “need to know” challenges students to solve a problem whose resources have been placed just out of reach.
  3. Learning happens by doing Learning is active and experiential. Students learn by proposing, testing, playing with, and validating theories about the world.
  4. Feedback is immediate and ongoing Students receive ongoing feedback on their progress, learning, and assessment goals.
  5. Failure is reframed as “iteration” Opportunities exist for students and teachers to learn through failure. All learning experiences should embrace a process of testing and iteration.
  6. Everything is interconnected Students can share their work, skill, and knowledge with others across networks, groups, and communities.
  7. It kind of feels like play Learning experiences are engaging, student-centered, and organized to support inquiry and creativity.
These 7 Principles are Integrated into the Overall Quest to Learn Culture Through our Core Values:
  • Possibility
  • Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Iteration
  • Responsibility

Inside the Q2L Community

Content coming soon!
“Not only is Quest play-based, but it is narrative-based…we think in terms of stories and once we are learning within a story it becomes more interesting to us.”
Rebecca Miller
Upper School Parent
“I like going to Quest because we have more freedom in the way we work. We don’t just fill out math sheets. We learn different strategies for solving problems and can do it our own way.”
Sydney Railla
6th grade student

Quest to Learn In The Press

Fast Company

“Each Quest teacher comes together in a team with a game designer and a curriculum designer every trimester. Together they create curricula that are grounded in the New York State standards and relevant to the lives of young people today. They also make games to address specific learning or assessment goals, focusing on areas where students typically struggle.”
is the average student attendance rate at Q2L
of Q2L students were proficient on the 2015 ELA exam compared to 30.4% of students citywide.