Teaching goes virtual with Quest2Teach

Much is being made over the explosion of video games in the classroom to teach a future generation of K-12 students. But what about the teachers who will be teaching them? At Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, education students are reaching into their virtual futures with the click of a mouse to immerse themselves in authentic teaching scenarios.

Quest2Teach is a series of 3D game-infused curricula, unified by a social-professional network, and designed specifically to help bridge the gap between the educational theory taught at the university and its application in real-world classrooms. It was created at Teachers College, and is led by Research Assistant Professor Anna Arici, to help bring the future of education to pre-service teachers today.

“This cutting-edge preparation for future teachers is the first of its kind in the nation,” said Mari Koerner, dean of Teachers College. “Our students may have grown up with technology, but using it to role play as real-life teachers is something new.”

Students evolve their professional identities as teachers in a variety of narrative-based 3D role-playing scenarios where they create a professional avatar, solve complex authentic problems, fail safely, and see the impact of their decisions — all while gaining experience and fluency in these theories-in-action. These innovations are part of their coursework and not meant to replace real-world practice, but instead provide an additional support as students enter their field placements and classroom teaching. 

Teachers College is dedicated to bringing positive innovation experiences to pre-service teachers to prepare them for the future of education. Quest2Teach helps these future teachers grow their professional identities throughout their college experience and supports them in becoming lifelong learners as they enter their professional teaching career. The game-based technology allows students to take their teaching for a test drive, and even make mistakes, without causing negative consequences they might experience in a real-life situation.

Quest2Teach continues to show strong learning and engagement gains, as well as positive impacts on student self-efficacy, professional identity, confidence and fluency in these concepts. The suite of pre-service teacher video games has been played by more than 1,000 education students in Teachers College courses at ASU and has been met with very positive response.

In spring 2014, the Quest2Teach team received the President's Award for Innovation, which recognizes ASU teams that have made significant contributions to ASU and higher education through the creation, development and implementation of innovative projects, programs, initiatives, services and techniques.


Quest2Teach team members
Anna Arici, Sasha Barab, Kathryn Dutchin, Adam Ingram-Goble, Lee McIlroy, Bill Slease, Janis Watson — Center for Games & Impact, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Catherine Weber — Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Ryen Borden, Benjamin Clark — Sanford Inspire Program, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Logan Barnett, Graeme Bayless, Jared Beauchamp, Alex Burley, Demi Du, Scott Foust, Steve Malandra, Jake Martin, Justin Messner, Elio Rutigliano, Jeff Seaman, Brenden Sewell, Joscelyn Stephens, Jesse West — E-Line Media