In school, kids play during recess and work during class. But some of the biggest names in psychology, including Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner, believe that play is a child’s work. The best way to teach kids, they say, is through hands-on, active learning. But with state benchmarks and performance-based teacher evaluations hanging above our heads, it’s hard for educators to imagine spending precious academic time playing games with kids. That’s where game-based learning (often confused with gamification, which isn’t quite the same thing) comes in. With this approach, learning and play aren’t at odds with each other; in fact, games are the vehicle and environment for learning.

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