Game-based learning

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What is it?

Game-based learning involves students using game development concepts and software to create their own games. Game-based activities are highly engaging and motivating for students and, when embedded within the curriculum, can be a highly effective way for students to learn. When students create games, they have the opportunity to become involved with authentic collaborative projects that enhance their problem-solving, communication and teamwork skills. Game-making also helps students develop the three types of thinking that the Digital Technologies curriculum is based around: systems, design and computational thinking. The thinking and skills described above that can be developed through this learning process are highly desirable for workplaces of the future.

Research suggests that game-based learning encourages participation and learning in STEM subjects (Jackson, 2014). Furthermore, research indicates that 'games enhance a range of cognitive functions and generate responses in the brain associated with attention and learning'. (Australian Council for Educational Research, 2016)


  • Jackson, D (2014). STEM growth: Getting students interested in the sciences. (Australia: ACER Research Developments).
  • ACER (2016). Video games and STEM. (Australia: ACER Research Developments). Online:

Kodu Game Lab Community

This is a broad collection of online courses, lesson plans, resources and supportive material to help educators get started in teaching computer programming.

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Think U Know

This website provides current information and resources to support the safe use of the internet, social media and digital technologies by children.

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What makes a good game

This lesson sequence allows students to explore design thinking processes to investigate how games are designed, created and played. Students analyse the audience of games, understanding the importance of empathy in the design process.

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Game design

This sequence of lessons integrates game design using scratch and a Makey Makey programming board.

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Making maths quizzes 1: Plan and test our programs

In this sequence students plan, create and edit a program that will ask maths questions that are harder or easier depending on user performance.

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Level Up: Game Design

This unit of work is a modification of Game On!, a program for teaching algorithm and program design to years 7–8.

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Making maths quizzes 2: Implementing a digital solution

In this sequence students implement a digital solution for a maths quiz. They test and assess how well it works.

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In this project, students program the fun and challenging game of Sudoku using Python programming language.

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Google CS First: Game design

CS First: Game design guides students to use block-based coding in Scratch projects through a series of themed activities.

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Getting warmer

This lesson sequence intentionally uses a visual-based programming tool to introduce designing and validating algorithms. Those students who complete this task can move to code the result in any text-based language with which they are familiar.

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Behaving with real class

This lesson sequence offers approaches to teaching object-oriented principles using text-based programming. It attempts to address the problem that many of programming languages are too complex and their environments too confusing for many students.

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NEW GAME: Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds is an app for iPad that helps students learn and explore coding in Swift, the same powerful language used to create professional apps.

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Gameblox is a blocks-based programming tool designed specifically to provide an accessible introduction to game design.

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Game Star Mechanic

Gamestar Mechanic is a game-based online digital learning platform designed to teach the guiding principles of game design and systems thinking.

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Blockly Games

This is a series of self-paced interactive games that progressively introduce programming concepts and challenge students to apply these to solve problems.

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TaleBlazer allows users to play and make their own location-based mobile games.

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Build an iPhone game in your browser

This interactive tutorial teaches the basics of programming, as you edit lines of code and follow the steps on an iPhone simulator to check your programming.

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Tynker is an online platform designed to teach students how to code using games and stories.

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Looking Glass

Looking Glass is free downloadable programming software designed to teach students the basics of coding through animated stories and simple games.

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Agent Cubes

Agent Cubes is a programming tool for teaching computer science through creating 2D and 3D games.

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Scratch is an online tool that uses visual block-based programming language. It enables students to create their own interactive stories and games.

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Greenfoot uses a simple interface to teach object orientation using Java. Students create 'actors' that live in 'worlds' to build games, simulations and other graphical programs.

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Alice is a free 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for storytelling, playing an interactive game, or making a video to share on the web.

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Students use a block-based coding language to manipulate sprites and story templates as well as community-created code snippets to create stories and games.

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Hopscotch is designed for students aged 9–11 and can be used to create animations, games, simple websites and algorithmically generated art. Students can publish their programs and view programs others have made.

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Minecraft: Education Edition

This website contains a link for teachers, schools and students to download a free version of Minecraft and resources for the teacher and classroom.

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Game Maker Studio

Use a 'drag and drop' environment and built-in computer language to develop a new game in minutes, without having to write any code.

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Khan Academy

Meet the professionals: Game makers.

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Australian STEM Video Game Challenge

Learn more about Makerspaces in the library with both student and teacher perspectives.

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Students aged 7–17 may find a CoderDojo nearby where they can learn to code, develop apps, websites, games and programs.

Level F - 2:

Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithims) needed to solve simple problems (ACTDIP004)

Level 3 - 4:

Define simple problems, and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them (ACTDIP010)

Implement simple digital solutions as visual programs with algorithms involving branching (decisions) and user input (ACTDIP011)

Level 5 - 6:

Design a user interface for a digital system (ACTDIP018)

Design, modify and follow simple algorithms involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration (repetition) (ACTDIP019)

Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching, iteration (repetition), and user input (ACTDIP020)

Level 7 - 8:

Design the user experience of a digital system, generating, evaluating and communicating alternative designs (ACTDIP028)

Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, and trace algorithms to predict output for a given input and to identify errors (ACTDIP029)

Implement and modify programs with user interfaces involving branching, iteration and functions in a general-purpose programming language (ACTDIP030)

Level 9 - 10:

Design the user experience of a digital system by evaluating alternative designs against criteria including functionality, accessibility, usability, and aesthetics (ACTDIP039)

Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in structured English and validate algorithms and programs through tracing and test cases (ACTDIP040)

Implement modular programs, applying selected algorithms and data structures including using an object-oriented programming language (ACTDIP041)