Making gaming in the classroom easy and accessible

For Dr. Kari Stubbs, innovation in education has not been a destination, but a journey. “I spent eleven years as a classroom teacher,” says Stubbs. “I took risks and experienced many ‘a-ha moments’ alongside my students through the integration of technology into the learning process.”

Then in 2004, Stubbs left the classroom to pursue a PhD and learn more about technology in the teaching and learning process. She is now a vice president at BrainPOP (a tool she used in her own classroom when she taught), helping lead the way forward in educational games.

“Educators are hearing rumors that educational games are a big deal and that they might be a cool thing to do with their kids,” says Stubbs. “But the thought of bringing games into the classroom can be confusing for some teachers. They may not be comfortable with games or technology themselves and wonder, ‘how do I do it?’” That’s where BrainPOP’s GameUp comes in.

“The approach we’ve taken with Game Up is to reach out to best-of-breed game developers, to take their games and then match them with BrainPOP content that teachers already feel comfortable and safe using,” says Stubbs. “We layer that with a wrapper of lesson plan ideas, research around best practices for integrating games, and then give them a community with webinars to facilitate conversations.”

Coming at it from a teacher-centered perspective can make all the difference, says Stubbs.

“I come from the mindset that teachers need to dig into a deep pocket of instructional tricks – whatever you need to do to help kids succeed and make them hungry to learn will lead to success,” notes Stubbs. “While gaming can be new to some teachers, it’s exciting. I’m sure they’ve seen their own children completely locked-in and absorbed in a game. If you use that game in an educational way, what a great opportunity to help kids be passionate and absorbed in learning.”

What are some of the “instructional bag of tricks” that you reach into to get your students absorbed in learning?
About Kari Stubbs

Dr. Kari Stubbs holds a PhD in Curriculum with a Technology Emphasis and has more
than a decade of classroom experience.  Currently, she serves as Vice President of 21st Century Learning at BrainPOP. Previously, she was the Director of Professional Development at ePals and the Senior Project Coordinator of the Title IID initiative in Kansas. In 2006, the National School Boards Association recognized Dr. Stubbs as one of “20 to Watch” educational technology leaders. Dr. Stubbs sits on the ISTE board, Horizon K12 Report board, REAL Commission (as part of Digital Promise), and the CoSN Emerging Technologies committee.  She is passionate about mobile learning, educational gaming, and global education.

Current residence: Kansas, USA
Websites I check every day: BrainPOP, Twitter, Google Calendar
Person who inspires me most:  My kids. They have a passion for learning, hunger for literacy and numeracy, ability to innovate, and a commitment to excel.
Favorite childhood memory: Reading and baking with my mom
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Spain
Favorite book: Wild Swans by Jung Chang

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10 Responses to Making gaming in the classroom easy and accessible

  1. Robin L. Egdish says:

    Go Kari !!! I am so proud of you and all the face book messages on Bobbie and Grace. You have a lot to be proud of!!!! Miss you.

  2. allisyn says:

    Way to go, Kari! Great interview!

  3. Din Heiman says:

    A well deserved distinction to add to your accomplishments, Kari. In BrainPOP you seem to have found a nurturing home from which to grow professionally and continue to contribute to education and innovation. Your work is touching teachers above and beyond BrainPOP Educators- we’re proud to spur you on.

  4. Karina Linch says:


    You’re an incredible educator, leader, and mom! Thanks for being a constant inspiration in work and in life.

    For those of you who may not know Kari, I suggest connecting with her on Twitter @karistubbs or the BrainPOP Educators Community:
    Kari shares wonderful advice and resources!

  5. Extremely well written, well thought out article.

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