Connected civic gaming: rethinking the role of video games in civic education

Gideon Dishon, Yasmin B. Kafai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Rising political polarization and the spread of disinformation have highlighted the need to re-assess and broaden existing approaches to civic education. Though video games have been presented as tools that could capitalize on youth’s interest-driven engagement with technology to support situated modes of civic learning, their actual contributions remain contested. This conceptual paper sets out to update and expand existing approaches to the civic role of video games by offering a “connected civic gaming” framework. Connected civic gaming brings together two approaches: first, “connected civics” highlights the potential of digital technologies to create consequential connections between youth’s interest driven cultural participation and civic modes of action. Second, “connected gaming” stresses the importance of positioning youth not only as game-players but also as makers of video games and active participants in the emerging communities that surround them. Accordingly, we offer a classification of the diverse civic contributions of game-playing and making, calling for two main shifts in research on civic video games: (1) overcoming the depiction of games as standalone interventions, and integrating them in broader educational efforts; and (2) a stronger emphasis on offering youth decision making power in- and about the games they play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1010
Number of pages12
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Video games
  • civic education
  • connected gaming
  • connected learning
  • game making
  • transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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