Quest2Teach (handout) is a series of game-infused 3D virtual learning curricula designed for teacher education that is unified by a social-professional network. These immersive experiences provide authentic and individualized practice for future teachers that bridges theory and practice. Quest2Teach is the first of its kind in teacher education and was created at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College through a unique collaboration between our Center for Games & Impact and partner game-design studio, E-Line Media.


    In Quest2Teach, future educators create an avatar and evolve their professional identity over multiple semesters in a variety of 3D role-playing storylines within instructor-guided courses in the Teachers College. Quest2Teach provides safe immersive experiences where learners cantackle authentic problems, fail safely, see the impact of their decisions, and gain fluency in these practices. Students’ endeavors in the game then appear on their network homepage to evolve their real-world identity across semesters and student teaching. The Quest2Teach network also provides a place to share and reflect with digital colleagues, locally and internationally. Our research with hundreds of Quest2Teach students has shown significant learning and engagement gains and students report increased confidence in their teaching, higher fluency in the language of teaching and related theories, and learning how ‘to actively do’ (rather than ‘know about’) these theories in practice, which means teachers are able to demonstrate and apply their knowledge confidently beyond the classroom walls.


    Quest2Teach was recently awarded ASU’s President’s Award for Innovation, and was also selected and filmed by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center (Sesame Workshop) to be featured in their upcoming documentary of innovative teaching practices.


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    Transformational Play

    Theoretical Background

    The Quest2Teach program draws from a situated cognition and community of practice perspective, including classic theorists such as John Dewey and Lev Vygotsky, as well as modern learning and games scholars such as James Paul Gee and Sasha Barab.


    Transformational Play is an experiential state that involves projection into the role of a character who is recruited into a partly fantastical problematic context, and must apply conceptual understandings to transform the context, and, ultimately, oneself. It involves positioning persons with intentionality, content with legitimacy, and contexts with consequentiality.

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    Small "g" Games

    Small ‘g’ games are bounded, self-contained, and completeable. These games are pre-optimized to introduce, cover or re-enforce lessons in safe, simulated and structured environments.


    Key genres include:

    • Adventure: Optimized for enabling students to take on identities and solving problem in an engaging, narrative context
    • Simulation: A framework for engaging in discussion, co-mentoring, tutoring, critique, reflection, “theory crafting”, and designing
    • Strategy: Optimized for students to solve complex problems balancing multiple variables to accomplish desired outcomes 
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    Big "G" Infrastructure

    Big ‘g’ infrastructure is open-ended, integrating small g games into a larger infrastructure with affinity spaces that foster student driven extensions.


    Key components include:

    • Data and Analytics Dashboard: Allows access to data to optimize the learning experience and show growth.
    • Social Communities/Affinity Spaces: Frameworks for discussion, co-mentoring, tutoring, critique, reflection, etc.
    • Achievement-based framework and gamification layers: Achievement systems with intrinsic motivators that unlock new trajectories.
    • Smart/Modding Tools: Frameworks, tools, and support structures so students and teachers can extend and shape the core platform, and bridge the virtual and real worlds.
    • Meta-game identity: Personalized avatars and meta storylines that unite small “g” and real-world experiences

    Digitally bridging theory to practice

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    Communications, soft skills and dynamics not always targeted in higher education


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    Student conferencing and mentoring in literacy and new media literacies


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    Using data-driven decision-making to inform educational practice and continually increase impact


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    Project Based Approaches: At the Core

    Creating and implementing project-based unit plans to actively engage students



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    Authentic practice

    Immersion provided language and practice for difficult situations:


    When students were asked what they learned in this unit that will stay with them, many responded they felt better equipped to handle difficult interactions in the real world.


    • “I like how this game gave us scripts for handling conversations. I think that’s huge. Sometimes we know what we’re supposed to say but it’s hard to find the words. It was great just reading the various options and seeing there are a lot of different ways to approach it.”
    • “I would love to go back and replay this again as I get closer to graduation, so I can really feel comfortable with the language for handle things in a professional way.”
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    Identity as a professional

    Game role supported Identity shift from Student to Teacher:


    Several students felt that this game was the first time they felt like they saw themselves as a teacher, rather than a student.


    One student shared:


    “This was a significant shift out of not being a student anymore, you know? We are in the professional world now, and we need to see ourselves as teachers. This game was like a shift into ‘the real life’, and other people can relate to that struggle.”

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    The real world and the classroom

    Students participating in their last semester of student teaching pointed out that they had already experienced conflicts very similar to these, and that the virtual experience reflected the real world.


    “I just want to say that I definitely give a lot of points for relevance, because a lot of these situations were like things that I’ve already experienced. I was immediately able relate to some of these situations.”


    “I don’t think if we played this last semester or last year, any one of us would have taken it as seriously, but now we know, this is for real.”



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    Game-based Approach to Teacher Education at ASU Builds Essential Skills

    Quest2Teach project featured by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center on gamesandlearning.org


    "One of the major trends within education is the idea of developing personalized learning tools that allow a student to develop skills at their own pace. But teaching a teacher how best to use newly created game-based tools takes a different kind of professional development..."



    Click here to read the full story on gamesandlearning.org

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    University innovators lauded for disaster relief, virtual learning tools

    Quest2Teach wins ASU President's Award for Innovation


    "The President's Award for Innovation provides formal recognition to ASU teams that have made significant contributions to ASU and higher education through the creation, development and implementation of innovative projects, programs, initiatives, services and techniques..."



    Click here to read the full article on ASU News.

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    First-of-its-kind video game prepares future educators

    ASU News features Q2T game: Persuit of Perfessionalism


    "Much is being made over the explosion of video games in the classroom to teach a future generation of K-12 students. But what about the future teachers who will be teaching them?"



    Click here to read the full story on ASU News.

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    Video game simulates classroom, other scenarios for ASU students

    Q2T innovative teacher training games features on AzCentral.com.


    "Arizona State University has made it tougher to become certified to be a teacher in recent years.


    But university officials say that doesn’t mean teacher training can’t be fun. The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Center for Games and Impact has developed a series of educational computer games for education students that are said to be the first of their kind in the nation..."

    Click here to read the full story on AzCentral.com.


    Quest2Teach's “Pursuit of Professionalism” is the first in a series of interactive, three-dimensional video games designed by the Sanford Inspire Program and ASU’s Center for Games & Impact. The game is a way for education students to prepare for real-life school scenarios. Focused on professional success, the video game was played by 277 teaching students in 396 field experience courses at ASU during the Spring 2013 semester.


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    Anna Arici, Ph.D


    Director of Quest2Teach
    3D Games, Curricula & Research



    skype: annaarici

    (o) 480.965.0211

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    Center for Games & Impact


    Arizona State University


    1050 S. Forest Mall, Farmer 140
    Tempe, AZ 85287

    (o) 480.965.0211

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