Administrator Magazine
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.

Right Motivation

Games can be great for learning, but watch the rewards.

Video games are an integral part of a gamified classroom. There are several top education-oriented games, including Refraction, a free online puzzle that is not obviously a lesson in fractions. Refraction lets teachers watch students’ progress on their computers to see what concepts the students understand, according to the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, which produced the game.

Scratch is a programming language that gives users the ability to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art—and share their work on the Web. It was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Director Mitchel Resnick says he is “a strong supporter of creating environments that would be appealing for kids, and strongly supportive of the trend to find ways to help kids become deeply engaged and learn in the process.” However, Resnick is not a proponent of gamification in the classroom, saying he views it as placing too much emphasis on incentives and rewards in support of the learning process. “Learning should not be turned into a game,” he maintains. Research has shown that emphasizing short-term, intrinsic rewards that are separate from core learning motivates kids to focus only on the reward rather than the ideas themselves, Resnick says.

“Giving prizes means … oftentimes they won’t get motivated to learn on their own. It doesn’t develop their curiosity and thirst for becoming lifelong learners, and I think that’s more important than anything else in school.”

Kids get motivated by sharing their work with one another, Resnick says. “We don’t give rewards because we think that would be counterproductive. We focus on kids having playful engagement and being deeply engaged, but as an active participant by sharing their work and getting feedback from others.”

Initially, Scratch was used primarily by young people at home and in after-school centers. Now, it is used more ­frequently in schools. One of Resnick’s grad students started a site called ScratchEd, for educators, and more than 5,000 educators have registered for it ( The lab was surprised to learn that Scratch is also used in the introductory computer science programs at Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Rutgers, among other universities. But Resnick expects it’s because Scratch “provides a very clear way of understanding core concepts of computer science.” While other institutions and companies are making games and apps that help kids learn, the Media Lab designs tools for kids to make their own games, stories, and animation. “We think the richest part of the learning experience is when you’re doing the creating,” Resnick says.

—Winter 2013—

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Guided Reading Short Reads Digital Fiction Grade K-6 - Medium School

    Guided Reading Short Reads Digital Fiction Grade K-6 - Medium School

    Zoom in on essential close reading! Bringing high-quality fiction to today’s multi-platform classroom, Guided Reading Short Reads Digital Fiction enables students and teachers to use interactive features within texts to enhance and optimize small group instruction. It gives students the opportunity for close reading, focusing on the text at a sentence and paragraph level—sustained across a short passage.
    Teacher Support includes:
    • Lessons designed to orchestrate purposeful repeated close readings of each text
    • Comprehensive guidance for the selection of developmentally appropriate texts that both challenge students and reinforce existing skills
    • Writing prompts that can be used to assess student comprehension in each genre
    Managing Guided Reading Groups is Easy with NEW Digital Tools!
    • Record texts read and guided reading level for groups and individual students
    • Generate reports of group and student guided reading levels and skills covered
    • Search feature to select texts by guided reading level, text type, genre, or skill
    Each Short Reads Guided Reading level includes:
    • 10 Student eCards at each guided reading level
    • Compelling fiction
    • Opportunities for deep, critical reading
    • Lessons for each eCard
    Guided Reading Short Reads Digital is a site license, renewable annually. Three school sizes are available:
    Small: 249 students or less.
    Medium: 250—500 students.
    Large: 500+ students.

    Paperback Book Collection | Grades K-6
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Guided Reading Short Reads Digital Fiction Grade K-6 - Medium School
    Grades K-6 $2,500.00
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  


    by Katie Marsico

    Originally developed in the early 20th century for military purposes, unmanned aircraft, or drones, have come to be used for a variety of purposes. Readers will find out how drones work and what it takes to pilot them. They will also learn why the use of drones has become a controversial issue, how unmanned aircraft have been improved over time, and what today's engineering innovators are planning for the future of drone technology.

    $21.75 You save: 25%
    Library Binding | Grades 3-5
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Grades 3-5 $21.75
    Add To Cart
Help | Privacy Policy




(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.