Constance Steinkuehler

Games & Esports as a Trojan Horse for STEM Learning


Please excuse the intermittent quality of this replay. Our presenters are hand-picked for their expertise and passion for championing educators. We hope you enjoy the wealth of information and insights offered by each of them.

Chat Transcript PDF

This session aired at ScIC6 Science is Cool Virtual Unconference on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

Games and esports are the most important entertainment medium to date for digital youth. Despite their mixed reception from parents and teachers, interactive media continue to engage teens and young adults in ways that few other media have.

Rather than firewalling games out of schools and banning them from teen bedrooms, what if we enriched these new digital playgrounds instead? What if kids' passion for games could be leveraged as a bridge toward academic content and prosocial skills?

Here, Steinkuehler makes the case for games and esports as a Trojan horse for learning in STEM, English Language Arts, and even social emotional skills. By connecting games and esports to culturally valued knowledge and skills, we can raise the next generation as responsible online world citizens and, perhaps, make school itself relevant to their everyday lives again.



Constance Steinkuehler Professor | University of California, Irvine

Constance Steinkuehler is a Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine where she researches culture, cognition, and learning in the context of multiplayer online videogames and esports.

She is the chair of UCI’s Game Design and Interactive Media Program and Co-Director of the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Center. Constance formerly served as Senior Policy Analyst under the Obama administration in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, advising on videogames and digital media.

She is the founder of the Federal Games Guild, a working group across federal agencies using games and simulations as tools for thought, and the Higher Education Video Games Alliance, an academic non-for-profit organization of game-related programs in higher education.

Notes and Resources:

Games+Learning+Society Center 

Air Force Gaming

Biology Buffs! Check out this gamified simulation of viruses - original research funded by Gates Foundation.


ScIC6 Unconference Video Library


Join the Community

Register to stay in touch with ScIC and PocketLab and be the first to hear of new events.