Gaming: Chocolate on Brocoli


I listened to (my first) podcast from Every Classroom Matters with Vicki Davis called “Game-Based Learning: What Great Games Have That Bad Games Don’t” in which a professor names Kae Novak is interviewed about gaming.  She introduces an expression “Chocolate on Brocoli” to describe bad games. This basically means some educational games seem to have the attitude that the subject matter (for example math) is so awful (like brocoli) that it needs something kids like (chocolate) to make it endurable. The chocolate in the analogy is of course making a game out of the subject matter, and the point is that with that approach, what results is a game that actually is terrible, like chocolate on brocoli. She says good games incorporate the exciting challenges of the subject matter into the game more seamlessly.

Vicki Davis plays a bit of devil´s advocate, asking Novak what she would say to those who think gaming is a distraction. Novak says the key is to find the right games and teachers who know how to use them well.  David summarizes it pretty well:  “It´s not the medium necessarily, it´s the pedagogy which surrounds the medium”.

At this point in the podcast, I found myself thinking “Golly, I should probably have more familiar with gaming! I am so behind!”. Right on cue, the ladies addressed my question, saying that the best place for teachers who are new to gaming to start is with the book The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game  by Lee Sheldon. I´ll have to check it out! 

At first, I was a bit overwhelmed listening to this podcast when they mentioned ¨meta-gaming¨ and doing Java programming with students. But, they ended with a message that I think can apply to this technology class in general: it doesn´t matter what [technology] you know, but whether you have a growth mindset. Additionally, I thought the length of the podcast was perfect. In 10 minutes, I was taught a bit about a new idea, provided with a few resources, and given some encouragement! I think this Bam! Radio will definitely be something I use consistently in the future. I look forward to finding a few favorites!


One thought on “Gaming: Chocolate on Brocoli

  1. I love this Bridget. I feel like I am in the same boat as you being up on the gaming world which is why instructional podcasts like those on BAM are so informative and allow us to learn about some of the latest and greatest ideas in education, including gaming.


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