Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 113–138 | Cite as

Aligning game activity with educational goals: following a constrained design approach to instructional computer games

  • Brett E. SheltonEmail author
  • Jon Scoresby
Development Article


We discuss the design, creation and implementation of an instructional game for use in a high school poetry class following a commitment to an educational game design principle of alignment. We studied groups of instructional designers and an interactive fiction computer game they built. The game was implemented in a 9th grade English classroom to see if the designed alignments were realized in the classroom. Results from observations and collected design artifacts suggest the alignment theory created extra challenges and rewards for the game designers. They encountered tensions between creating an exciting game-like atmosphere with inventive programming techniques while remaining loyal to the narrative structure and instructional goals. Game-play transcripts and interviews with middle school participants offered additional insights into the successes and failures of intentional efforts to bring about educational game alignment.


Computer games English education Interactive fiction Instructional simulation 


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Instructional Technology and Learning SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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