Educators tend to look at video games as a waste of time and a distraction from important learning activities. Carr-Chellman, herself an educator, wants us to rethink our stand on gaming, even those games with violence – at least for boys.

Why you should listen:

Her recent research projects include “Bring Back the Boys,” looking at ways gaming can be used to re-engage boys in their elementary education. Another projects asks prisoners and homeless people to think about how to reform schools, bringing new voices to the policy-making table.

Who is she:

A former third-grade teacher, Ali Carr-Chellman realized that traditional elementary classrooms weren’t for her, in part because she was frustrated by the lack of innovation, agility, and readiness to change in traditional schools. She’s now an instructional designer, author and educator, working on how to change and innovate within schools to make education work better for more kids. She teaches at Penn State University in the College of Education, working primarily with doctoral-level students to help produce the next generation of faculty with inspired research ideas and methods. Carr-Chellman also teaches online courses focused on helping practicing teachers learn how to improve their own instructional design practices and how to improve their classrooms.


  1. Carr-Chellman is very critical of Zero tolerance policies and their application. What would you substitute, if anything, for these policies.
  1. She gives some disturbing “100 girl” statistics that suggest some trends that are alarming. What is your reaction to these stats?
  1. Carr-Chellman also shows that the number of male elementary school teachers is shrinking. What is the diminishing number of male role models likely to contribute to in parallel with the number of single parent households?
  1. Carr-Chellman suggests that elementary schools are a hostile environment for boys. Does this seem credible?
  1.  Should boys be allowed to construct essays on topics that do not seem pro-social?
  1. Many boys are turned off by the time they leave elementary school; they already feel education does not have a place where they fit comfortably. What can we do to reverse this trend?

Gaming to re-engage boys in learning with Ali Carr-Chellman


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