Using video games to teach

DeKALB – Imagine taking classes by video game. You wouldn’t try to get to the next level or beat the game just for the fun of it, you would do it to ace a test and pass a class.

Researchers are harnessing the motivation to play and win video games to actually teach new and challenging concepts to learners of all ages. At the next STEM Cafe, Northern Illinois University experts Aline Click and Brianno Coller will discuss the success they have had in using video games as a vehicle for learning. The program “Get Your Learn on Like Donkey Kong: Gaming to Engage Your Mind” will take place Wednesday, June 19, at Eduardo’s restaurant in DeKalb. It is free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Eduardo’s.

Click is the director of eLearning Services and the Digital Convergence Lab (DCL). Her section of the presentation will focus on DCL’s video game camp for girls and her current research, which describes the connections she has observed between learning and game design in the camps.

Coller, a professor of mechanical engineering, will discuss how he uses video games to teach the complex physics and mathematics that engineers must know at a deep level.

NIU STEM Outreach presents free STEM Cafes every month. Food and drinks are available for purchase from the host restaurant. Upcoming presentations include an encore presentation of “WISSARDs of the Antarctic” on July 16 at The Claddagh in Geneva, “The Science of Beer” on Aug. 6 at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora and “Star Gazing” Aug. 11 at Acquaviva Winery in Maple Park.

The STEM Cafe series is just one of the many ways STEM Outreach helps the public learn about the critical role that science, technology, engineering and math fields play in today’s rapidly changing world. For more information, visit or contact Judith Dymond at or 815-753-4751.

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