Articles Tagged with: Educational learning games
Byzantine Empire Joins Excavate! Social Studies Game Series
A Byzantine Empire Game for the Social Studies Classroom

Our latest expansion to our long-running Excavate! social studies and archaeology game series arrives today! Play Excavate! Byzantine on the web, Android devices, or iOS devices for $3.99. If you want more than one civilization, contact us to request bundle pricing.

Byzantine brings out total number of games up to six. Previously, the Excavate! series included Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia, MesoAmerica, and Greece. Like its predecessors, Excavate! Byzantine includes C3-aligned gameplay and companion teacher resources. For specifics, you can find out more on the main page for the game. 

Analyze Artifacts and Discover the Byzantine Empire

Byzantine game tasks students with archaeology and socials studies analysis

Dig-It! Games CEO Suzi Wilczynski, a former middle school teacher, designs the Excavate! games. Through engaging gameplay and challenging analysis, the series aims to take students on entertaining and educational archaeological adventures through time and around the world. By using archaeologists’ tools, players uncover real artifacts from ancient cultures.

First, the game gets players immediately in the dirt, evaluating the proper tool to use while learning about the scientific process of excavation. Through this, players learn concepts such as stratigraphy, context and the importance of proper recording. Next, analysis takes center stage as players learn about the significance of the artifacts they collect and gain a deeper understanding of ancient people through what they left behind. Each civilization includes 3D artifacts and detailed illustrations of ancient life to immerse the user in each unique culture.

“We are pleased to be adding this new world history civilizations to the popular series after recently updating our previous content to align to C3 standards to make a more effective teaching tool” says Wilczynski. “Through its expansive content and flexible applications, Excavate!™ provides a high-quality resource for educators across their full World History Curriculum.”

Explore and Experience Byzantine Life

Excavate! Byzantine game has students analyze artifacts using archaeology and social studies knowledge

Excavate! Byzantine takes students to the Hagia Sophia, the Imperial Palace, an oikos (or house), and a market to discover how the people of this civilization lived. While they analyze artifacts, students learn about the role of religion, family, military, and trade in the empire. In this way, students not only learn about life in the Byzantine Empire but also stretch their critical thinking skills.

Teachers, we also provide several helpful resources for creating lesson plans around Excavate! Byzantine. Look through the Teachers Guide, focus on Inquiry Analysis, and quiz your students with these Artifact Based Questions. Because we want to make the use of these games as easy as possible, we have similar resources for each of the games in the Excavate! series.

If you want more information, read the full press release here.

Play Excavate! Byzantine Today!
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Personalizing Learning with the Excavate! Series of Games

We are back this week with another blog post from a great educator, Samantha McClusky. She is a Special Education teacher in Searcy, Arkansas. Below, she describes how she uses video games to promote personalized learning in her classroom.

The Magic of Interactive Lesson Plans

Teacher uses Excavate! social studies games with special education students

I teach in a self contained special education classroom, for students with behavior and social issues. Students are grades 7-12, with varying levels of academic achievement. I always look for new ways to teach my students, that meet their diverse needs. I love finding interactive materials to use through the use of my Smart projector and computer.

Dig-It! Games has had many interactive learning games that we have used with great success. Just a couple of years ago I utilized the Mayan Mysteries game in my classroom. I use the game from one computer and project it using the Smart Projector. Students gather around the board and get up and take turns during the game, answering questions, discussing scenarios, and reading instructions. They take turns to complete sections of the game and work together as a group to solve puzzles and answer questions.

As I teach students with varying levels of academic achievement, participating in these interactive learning experiences really helps them achieve with a whole group effort and the individual input helps them have pride in the groups successes!

Using Video Games in Special Education

Teacher uses Excavate! social studies games in special education classroom

The Excavate! games are just great! My students take it in turns to excavate with the tools, read the instructions and questions aloud, answer questions, discuss ideas, and complete the journaling. They are learning so much, and ASK for me to teach them MORE! We continue the learning by connecting the Excavate! game to unit lessons based on the same country, time period, and culture. As a class we have explored Ancient Rome for example, continuing our discovery through reading of texts, watching documentary based film, looking at math and science connections, and discovering the world through geography and history.

The Dig-It! games are like a springboard that students stand on and then leap from to WANTING to discover MORE. Learning through the game based format really connects learners of the 21st century to education, and helps them discover things that they may not have been interested in by just reading a text, or writing a research paper! It brings the learning to their level and excites them to take the learning even further.

Want to Learn More About Our Educational Video Games?

If you want to find out how to use our educational video games in your classroom, feel free to reach out! We believe that the engagement and excitement that video games bring to education can open the eyes of even the most reluctant learner. Find our library of games here. Our Excavate! series consists of Rome, Egypt, MesoAmerica, Greece, Mesopotamia, and Byzantine (coming soon). Also check out our other blogs about interactive lesson plans for ancient civilizations.  Email our Education Team if you have any questions!

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Teacher’s Game Review of the Excavate! History Series

As word about our Excavate! Series spreads, we have been honored to be in contact with amazing teachers who put it to the test. Below is the story of how we met our friend, Susan Honsinger, a gifted, computer, and math teacher at Saint Mary, a K-8 Catholic school in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. She also talks about how she uses the series with her students. Here’s her review of the social studies series.

Using Games in the Classroom

I first discovered Dig-It! Games in a workshop about game-based learning at FETC in 2015.  I was impressed at the demonstration of the Mayan game activities and thought, “This would rock in a social studies classroom setting!”  However, I was teaching other subjects at the time and didn’t get a chance to try it out.

Last spring, when brainstorming our 3rd – 5th grade gifted course outline for this year, I remembered Dig-It! Our gifted class this year meets once a week for 90 minutes, and the students have been exploring various ancient civilizations.  They’ve done research online and in books, and created posters about the elements that make up every civilization, and how those elements are found in their chosen civilization.

Social Studies teacher review for Excavate!

Social studies teacher review of Excavate!

Dig-It! Games’ Excavate! series – Mesopotamia, Rome, Egypt, Greece, and Maya (at that time, now MesoAmerica) – were a perfect way to get a little deeper into the cultures through exploring the artifacts that are dug up in the course of the game and they actually meshed with the chosen civilizations for our crew.  We spent some time near the beginning of our project playing through the games – with a little guidance, even the 3rd graders were able to easily navigate through the game.  They loved collecting artifacts and finding out more using the journal feature.

Teacher review of Excavate!

Teacher review Excavate

After we played the games, I left them available as a free time choice, and students tried out other civilizations!  I really saw the connections happening when our class started creating displays and “artifacts” from their culture to present later this year.  They were working with much more detailed, authentic visions of the items from their culture and making their own reproductions more detailed.

I really saw the connections happening…

Susan Honsinger, Teacher

I’ve heard students talking about artifacts they found and how those are used as they’re working on their projects.  One interesting note – we had a new student join the group, and the co-teacher suggested she play one of the Dig-It! Games to explore one of the cultures she was observing in the classroom.  She loved it, and a passing student said, “That looks even cooler than the Maya game!” (He had played an older version.) So the new games are noticeably visually richer just to someone walking past!!

Teacher review game Excavate

Teacher game review Excavate

I’m a fan of using games to reinforce learning, even if it’s bingo with order of operations on paper (which I did today with my 6th grade).  However, when something is really rich in information and visually engaging as well, that’s a double-win.  I see that the Excavate! games are embedded in student memory, and the facts and images they found there are being referred to in subsequent classes.  Playing these games solidified their learning in a major way, and I’m so pleased!!  I’d recommend any of them for a social studies unit, particularly from 4th through 8th grades.

Read More Excavate! Game Reviews

If this account hasn’t convinced you to try out our games, maybe last week’s blog post which highlights students’ feedback and reviews will. Please don’t hesitate to reach out ( for more information!

Learn more about our Excavate! series
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More on Dig-iT! Games: We continue delivering game based learning products to social studies educators and students that make world cultures come to life in a fun and educational way.  Expand your world history lesson plans with games from the leader in ancient civilization education products.  Your students will thank you for it.

Game Reviews are Pouring In For Excavate

Students deliver their game reviews on Excavate! Greece and confirm that game based learning belongs in the classroom.

One of the great things about working at Dig-iT! Games is that we hear from some of the toughest customers: students! As teachers incorporate our Excavate! games into their classes, we have been hearing some insightful and encouraging feedback from their charges. Recently, we received some game reviews from a group of energetic sixth graders in Maryland, after they played Excavate! Greece. When their teachers asked if they should incorporate the game into their classes in the future, the students were highly enthusiastic.

Games in the Classroom are Fun!

“I think you should use it in the future because it was fun for me, so I think that it would be fun for other students too. Also you get to learn a lot, and you are having fun while you’re learning so overall it makes the class really fun.”

 “Fun” is definitely a core component of the game and also very important to this student!

In addition, many other students echoed that Excavate! Greece was not only fun but also somehow different from other learning games…

…You can interact, it’s not boring as other learning games, and it teaches you by doing something fun.

…it is fun learning and not boring. It is not just one part, so you’re not bored. You can learn a lot in a short period.

…I think students would be more eager to learn if they think that they get to do something fun.

Based on these game reviews, it looks like there may have been an underlying expectation that educational video games were boring to play.  We are glad to see that Excavate! Greece breaks that mold, but let’s dig a little deeper to find out what is making this game so fun for students…

“ is a fun game, you learn about Greece, and you get to participate in the digging of the artifacts.”

“…it was very entertaining. It didn't bore me, in fact I played it multiple times, it was exciting digging up old artifacts and finally, I wasn't just using one tool you had to use multiple tools.”

“...the activities were fun to play and pretend like we were there...the digging activity was fun and interesting to pretend like we actually were digging up the artifacts...they have you act like your digging up artifacts and writing down facts like some people have as a real job.”

It looks like the digging mechanic in Excavate! is a hit!

Learning through Games

Some learning video games are really fun, but educators must evaluate if they meet standards and facilitate valuable learning experiences.  Our Excavate! games are packed with rich curriculum-aligned content. Student performance outcomes are aligned to the C3 Framework of Social Studies State Standards.  However, the real question to ask is whether students recognize they are learning while playing…

…it teaches us about ancient artifacts, it teaches us about how the cultures lived, and it teaches us what they had in their time.

…you learn about ancient artifacts and how [people] used to live.

…it is a really fun way of learning about ancient objects.

But take heed, students will have to do some work in the game to get the biggest benefit.  Take advice from this experienced player.

“You should continue to use this game in the future because it is educational, but you need to make sure that the kids read everything in the analysis questions and the journal. Another reason you should continue is because it teaches kids how to examine artifacts, and lastly what things went on in Greece.

Teachers are always reminding students to read directions and informational text, but it is heartening to see that this student recognized that it was crucial for success in playing Excavate! Greece.

We hope you will take a moment to play Excavate! Greece now and in the future after reading these Excavate! reviews.  But don’t take our word! We think the following student summed it up succinctly when asked whether the game should be incorporated into the class again:

“Yes because the future classes will love it. It’s fun to play. It’s cool!

Try Excavate! Greece for Yourself!

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Were the Greeks the First Gamers?

Interactive Narrative as Game

The Iliad and the Odyssey are part of the Western Literature canon but primarily written down in book form. This belies their original format which was recited, edited, embellished and improvised epic poems performed in front of a rapt audience. They were a seamless combination of entertainment and education much like today’s educational video game! Add the fact that a driving narrative delivered the lessons and knowledge and now you can really see how ancient epics have similarities to learning games.

Exploding the Castle This comparison is brilliantly made by Roger Travis of University of Connecticut in his article (“What Homeric Epic Can Teach Us About Educational Affordances of Interactive Narrative” pgs. 19-37) published recently in Exploding the Castle: Rethinking How Video Games and Game Mechanics Can Shape the Future of Education. Travis’ article not only explores the interactive nature of sharing epic poems but also highlights how their use in Greek theater expands the nature of their interactive power. The messages, lessons and epic journeys get reframed and improvised to keep audiences engaged through surprising twists and turns and reframing of comfortable tropes much like how a video game progresses through various levels.

My favorite assertion is that Socrates was indeed a gamer!

Socrates was a gamer. My research suggests that he and his fellow Athenians played the stories of Achilles and Odysseus every time they heard them because we always play adventure stories, whether we hear them or read them or watch them and whether we have explicit, if fake, control over some portion of the story or not. Remember that every choice you can make in a digital game is programmed into that game’s software, and remember that every choice you can make even in a tabletop role-playing game must fall within the rules. If it works better for you, though simply imagine Socrates and is friends playing Achilles or playing Odysseys at the end of his life those games became even more interactive as Socrates chose to become a new Achilles. (Travis Page 22)

We read and perform these epic poems for their powerful stories of the human condition, insight into historical events and because they have powerful narrative structures. We are constrained in how far off piste we can go with content as we rework them but they are inherently engaging and we read them over and over again. Much like a good game compels the player to replay, rework and master a technique or level. When we play today’s video games, we may be taking part of a tradition that started a lot earlier than we had imagined!

Lasting Influence…Even in Game Play

The Greeks have had a significant influence in our culture and it is evident in our architecture, live theater, form of government and now even our video games. Why not learn more about these cultural influencers by playing a video game about them?

Socrates the Gamer

Dig-iT! Games has recently released our Ancient Greece title in the Excavate! video game series. Students excavate real artifacts that are primary sources that students analyze in order to draw conclusions about the daily life of ancient Greece. Excavate! Greece challenges students to compare and contrast the lifestyles of Athens and Sparta, dig deep into Greek religious practices while exploring Apollo’s Temple at Delphi and explore the life of world class athletes while excavating Olympus. It is an engaging and fun way to learn about and build on the ancient tradition that Socrates also enjoyed: the interactive narrative!

Try Excavate! Greece today and give it to your loved one who has to find an engaging way to get his or her students interested in ancient Greece after the holidays!

Excavate Series Expands Greece, Rome and Playing Cards

Today, Dig-iT! Games formally announces the expansion and updated improvements to the Excavate social studies games series with six civilizations on world history. Existing civilizations Egypt, Mesopotamia and MesoAmerica have been updated with additional content and C3-aligned gameplay for an enriched overall learning experience. New civilizations include Rome, Greece and Byzantine (coming soon). Available on multiple platforms for desktops, tablets and phones, these games are designed by former middle school teacher and DIG-IT! Games CEO, Suzi Wilczynski, to take kids on archaeological adventures through time and around the world, that are both entertaining and educational.

New Playing Cards

The series has also been expanded to include Excavate! playing cards for classroom and family fun. Each card deck includes People, Places and Artifacts cards that complement the video game or can be played separately. This is a perfect way to get the conversation going without screen time. An excellent gift option for your child, grandchild or a favorite teacher to introduce the ancient cultures. Game decks are available for the Rome and Egypt civilizations. Standard game play is for 3 to 5 players ages 9 and above.

Six World History Civilizations

“We are pleased to be adding three new world history civilizations to this popular series and updating the content to align to C3 standards to make a more effective teaching tool” says Wilczynski. “Excavate™ provides a high-quality resource for educators across their full World History Curriculum and the new card decks add an additional option for cultural game play, creating a complete multi-media game experience for the middle-school classroom.

Read the complete press release here

Project-Based Learning Meets Video Game Design

By Chris Magnuson

On Monday, April 24, Dig-It! Games launched the 5th Grade Challenge App to commemorate the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Educational Foundation’s 5th annual production of an innovative fundraiser. But more importantly, we were joined in the lobby of the AFI Silver Theater by a host of 8th graders who were showcasing their versions of the app and websites.

“Are You Up to the 5th Grade Challenge?” is an engaging game show that welcomes community leaders to test their wits against the challenging 5th grade curriculum of MCPS in order to raise money for programing in the district’s elementary schools.  The unique spin of this format is that there are about twenty 5th graders representing a number of MCPS elementary schools on stage to help steer the contestant to the right answer. Yolanda Pruitt, Executive Director of the MCPSEF, wanted to commemorate the 5th year of this unique event and she had a vision for students and families to take this game-show home via a mobile app.

Pruitt secured the funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute but her next step was to find a local game developer to make it happen.  That is where Dig-It! Games came in!  But she had one additional request and which was to include students in the building of the game.  We were up to the challenge!

Dig-It! Games teamed up with Argyle Middle School for Digital Design and Development to engage 8th graders in this project.  We have always interfaced with students through studio visits, playtesting and career day conversations but this was the first opportunity our studio has had in making a game with students! Argyle is a unique magnet program that was the perfect fit.  Eighth graders study Game Design, Web Design, Digital Coding, Digital Art and Video Production and we have managed to incorporate each class in the creation of this project!

Our education team took the lead in coordinating the project but everyone in the studio has been involved.   Our developers visited with Game Design classes to engage students with the design specifications and run through a paper prototypes.  Our artists visited Digital Art classes to coach students through the design and production of art for the many of the questions in the app.  Video Production students filmed every time Dig-It! visited classes and they are producing a recap video of the whole project.  Finally, Web Design students made websites to host the app and tell the story of how the app was made.  We have engaged students in all aspects of the mobile game’s development but the most fun has been sitting down with students to actually play the game and see their eyes light up when they see their own artwork and ideas present in the game-play!

Building this mobile game was a challenge but with some help of innovative 8th graders at Argyle we were up to it!

Download the app today!


The Power of Experiential Learning in Social Studies Class

Oregon Trail and Games Photo Credit:

Gather a group of folks of a certain age and mention the word “dysentery” and an interesting thing happens: eyes light up and people talk animatedly about wagons overturning in the river, sacks of beans and bad choices that led to everyone starving. An odd response for such a horrible disease, but of course it’s the reference to the game Oregon Trail that evokes such a deep seated, emotional response. What is it about Oregon Trail that had such a profound impact on so many of us that we clearly remember the experience years later?

Oregon Trail stemmed from the realization that kids learn more when they are learning about real people doing real things. Although we as teachers all know that deeper learning happens when students see and experience life and culture, time and curriculum constraints often limit social studies classes to focusing on major events, dates and important people. With the recent focus on STEM (and STEAM), social studies has taken a back seat, further limiting teaching resources. At Dig-iT! Games, we believe this is a dangerous oversight: STEM is absolutely vital to our kids’ success, but kids desperately need the tools that social studies courses provide. Our students need to learn to analyze, categorize, process and communicate, and evaluate the motivation behind an action. These skills have become even more critical in our current environment, where opinions are often mistaken for facts.

Captured at High Desert Museum Bend Oregon Photo Credit:

It’s All About Experiences

Part of what made Oregon Trail such an effective teaching tool was that it was structured as a game. Playing wasn’t about passing a test, it was about finding a way to get little Mary and her family to the end without a catastrophe. Embedded in that experience was a variety of important information: certain foods are more nutritious or more durable than others; wagons are complicated machines that needed as
much upkeep as a car does today; diseases were far more deadly in the past than they are now due to a lack of effective medication, etc. Learning was seamlessly blended with gameplay. Certainly, students learned about the dates the Oregon Trail was used, its geography and its significance, but they also had a first-hand look into the very real hardships of the people who used it. That emotional connection to historic events is extremely powerful, as evidenced by the number of people who remember what they learned from a short game they played as children decades ago.

The evidence shows that when one makes an implicit connection between information and themself, it is more likely the information is remembered later. Immersive games like Oregon Trail ask players, “What would you have done in that situation?” This is more powerful than just physically reading a textbook and absorbing the facts because of its emotional connection and cumulative learning effect. It forces students to draw on what they know and requires them to think differently about the information they’re receiving. They are able to see history as a story made up of patterns and repeating trends, not just a list of facts to memorize. That helps make the topic relevant to students and encourages them to apply those analytical skills to the world around them. When history becomes immediate instead of theoretical, it turns into an adventure instead of a chore. History taught in an immersive way helps students become engaged, excited and eager to learn more.

Why Use Digital Games?

As Oregon Trail illustrates, the value of a game is in what we take away from it, not in the game itself. It is in that individual engagement where electronic games win out over traditional games in a classroom setting. Digital games combine graphics, audio and movement into a coherent whole. These games are interactive and immersive, forcing the player to be truly invested in the outcome. Players are encouraged to strengthen weaker skills, while simultaneously taking advantage of their proficiencies. Electronic games level the playing field, allowing all learners to engage deeply and internalize ideas in the way that suits them best. So regardless of how a student best processes information, she/he will be able to learn the same thing as someone who operates differently.

Our educational system is, unfortunately, not designed for individualized teaching. The cycle of lectures, mass-produced textbooks and standardized tests emphasizes consistency and conformity. Digital gaming can change that.

Digital games provide an environment where kids can learn at their own pace and in their own way. It’s much easier to admit strengths and weaknesses when no one is watching. Games are inherently flexible; they encourage experimentation, trial and error and failure. In no other learning environment are kids encouraged to fail and learn from their mistakes, even though every teacher knows the best way to learn something is by doing it (and failing a few times). The immediate feedback in games lets players determine for themselves what they need to do differently, allowing them to internalize the lesson. Students can practice skills they feel uncertain about, or move ahead to new things while the teacher focuses on students who are struggling with a topic. When students are put in an environment in which they can learn their way without fear of judgment or penalty, they become what every teacher strives for: independent learners.

What to Look For in a Game

Effective educational games bear certain hallmarks that should be known and considered. Here are a few key elements to look for in a solid learning game experience:

Purpose-aligned learning. Learning games that clearly show a student that they can use what they learn for a future purpose instill a level of confidence and willingness in that student that makes teaching and learning look effortless. Such games are carefully developed; look for those clearly aligned to a future purpose for the student and never again hear ‘But when am I ever going to need to know this?’

Content area knowledge. The gaming industry is crowded with games of every variety. While zombies and guns are popular, what you are looking for are those games that actually help a student along an academic course in science, social studies, music, art, etc., because ‘Zombie Hunter’ is not a real job listing. Scientist, educator, project manager, curator, artist are all real-world possibilities and while standards are a great guideline, more importantly, the future is what we make it.

Opportunities to explore. In educating a child, their self-determinism, the opportunity for them to look in wonder and to make a choice, one that they feel may be correct or interesting or one that merely satisfies their curiosity, is precious. Games provide a unique opportunity for children to explore and investigate things that are specifically of interest to them. There is a certain pleasure in learning new things, and even in going over the familiar, especially when one is in control of that learning. Look for games that provide the student situations in which they can choose a path forward and in which they control the level and pace of exposure to new information.

Multiple cognitive skills to problem solve. Even simple games engage multiple skills. Shooting zombies involves coordination, strategic thinking, and often collaboration with other players. Those skills are important, but literacy, mathematical knowledge, and comprehensive understanding of particular content are more useful in the long run. Good games are cross-curricular; they combine two or more curriculum areas into an engaging whole. These games put students in situations where they must draw on information and skills learned in multiple classes, an ability that will serve them well in college and the job market.

We Need Your Help!

Oregon Trail was groundbreaking when it was first introduced and continues to be the gold standard against which all history games are measured, but digital games have improved dramatically since its first introduction in the 80s. Certainly, graphics are much better quality now, but the biggest shifts have come on the data side: games track progress and some games allow teachers to see the student’s progress so they can tailor lessons or extra work to specific needs. Games are also easier to make and to distribute, both a positive and negative change: more games does not inherently mean better quality games and it is still a challenge to find games that align to a specific curriculum. We need your help to continue improving the quality and variety of games.

First, we want to know what you are teaching and where the gaps are. Do you have particular content areas you wish you had more resources for? For example, we know there is a lot of coverage for the Revolutionary War, but not so many resources for teaching Mesopotamia or ancient irrigation. We want to make high-quality games that help you engage your students better and follow your curriculum. If you have ideas for games or would like to be part of a discussion about key areas of curriculum you think games would be useful for, please email our Education Team (

Secondly, we know Game-Based Learning (GBL) can be useful in the classroom but measuring the success is often challenging. Some games provide no learning outcomes and those that do are typically in proprietary systems requiring educators to log-into and learn separate learning management systems. Learning outcomes from one vendor cannot be easily compared with other games as there is no core standard. We believe that there is a need for a unified dashboard that standardizes the collection, reporting and analysis of learning outcomes across the GBL industry. We have received a grant from The National Science Foundation to develop this standard and build a unified dashboard. We want to know how data collection in games (or lack thereof) affects your thinking about GBL and your purchasing decisions. Additionally, we need your help developing a universal dashboard that reports data from multiple products in a useful way for your needs. If you would like to be part of this exciting project, please contact us (

We hope you will participate in one or both of these initiatives. With your help we can move the game industry forward and create better products that match with your curricula and meet your data reporting needs.

A former archaeologist and middle school teacher, Suzi Wilczynski is the founder and CEO of Dig-iT! Games®, an independent developer of interactive educational games for kids. Through a seamless blend of fun and learning, Dig-iT! Games seeks to foster the joy of intellectual discovery and inspire kids to think differently about learning.



Breakout of Your Old Lesson Plan!

What if there was a lesson plan that uses your curriculum to teach teamwork, troubleshooting, critical thinking and problem solving? Would you use it?  One of the newest activities for students to experience in the classroom is “Breakout: Edu”.


Have you experienced an “Escape Room” yet? If you haven’t heard about them, a team of people get locked into a room and must solve clues to find the way out of the room. The rooms are themed: Pirates, Indiana Jones, the 80’s, the 90’s, Harry Potter, and so on which only make the games more popular.


Educators have taken this idea and put it into practical use in the classroom. This changes the game from breaking out of a room to finding combinations to open a series of locks on a box to find a reward. This game lends itself to a wide array of skills for students such as critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. BreakoutEdu is a company that sells inexpensive kits that include the box, locks, UV flashlight, and more but it is also relatively easy to buy your own materials.


The popularity of this game proves that this game can be a standard in a class where students are having fun and collaborating while applying their knowledge! They aren’t just answering trivia questions, they are actively using the information they learned in a class to achieve a purpose. The questions can be adapted to ANY subject or content area and mini activities can add depth and fun. It is also very easy to adapt this game digitally and let students play individually or in small groups.


This form of problem-solving has many teachers and administrators excited! There is huge potential in using breakout activities as performance-based learning. By pairing cross-curricular content with puzzles, riddles, questions and clues, teachers are able to build hands-on experiences where students can apply their schema, reasoning, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills to show their mastery of the curriculum. This fantastic opportunity for engaging learning has even been adapted as young as kindergarten!


Here at Dig-It! Games, we love to see the intersection of learning and fun and applaud anything that can do this. Have you tried a Breakout in your classroom? What did you think?

10 Reasons to Play BreakOut Edu

Top 10 Reasons for Breakouts by Sylvia Duckworth and Maria Galanis




Summer Learning Loss Campaign #gogolearn

Summer Learning Loss

Fighting Summer Learning Loss with Games

Note: This is an early preview of our Summer Learning Loss Campaign – On July 14th all the details will be updated here.

At Dig-It! Games®, we are committed to improving education. As our corporate mission states, “we believe in the power of games to change how kids learn by promoting critical thinking, independent learning, and cultural understanding. Our games incorporate age-appropriate content in math, science, social studies and language arts into fun, interactive and engaging learning experiences. Through our seamless blend of fun and learning, we seek to foster the joy of intellectual discovery and inspire kids to think differently about learning.”

The education community has recently come to understand the true value of game-based learning and games are being regularly integrated into curricula. Currently, half of all K-12 teachers are using games in their classrooms in a meaningful way. These educators recognize the value of games in their students’ learning experiences and the potential of using the data collected by digital games to improve students’ learning and create personalized learning environments. Teachers are finding that games are effective in improving executive function skills, 21st century skills, technology skills, Literacy and Math skills, and more.

Unfortunately, those most in need of our products are often least able to use them. Teachers report that digital games help low-performing students catch up and motivate them to learn more. Digital games not only improve student performance, but positively impact student behavior and attendance. But the digital divide remains, making it a challenge for the students who could benefit the most from game-based learning to gain access to digital learning products.

At Dig-It! Games®, we recognize this challenge and are working to help close the achievement gap. We have spent the past several months rebuilding our infrastructure to provide access to our products from any device on any platform. This device-agnostic approach meets kids where they are: on their phones and other mobile devices. Although bandwidth and data access remain a problem for many students in America, we are happy to be taking steps in the right direction. Our games are also now available on Chromebooks, a more affordable option for schools and parents both.

But we can do more. Every summer, low-income students lose 2-3 months of academic skills compared to their higher-income peers. These gaps in math, reading and other skills add up: by 5th grade, students can be as much as 3 years behind! Summer Learning Loss is real, and affects low-income students disproportionately. Dig-It! Games is joining a national movement to eradicate Summer Learning Loss. Led by the National Summer Learning Association, partners around the country are hosting Summer Learning Day events on July 14, 2016 to raise awareness for this vital educational initiative. To learn more about Summer Learning Day or to find an event near you, visit Dig-It! Games will be hosting an event to raise awareness in our community. We hope you will join us at on July 14, 2016 at Veterans Park in Bethesda.

It’s a great start, but we believe we can do even more. Games are a perfect tool to prevent Summer Learning Loss and keep kids engaged in learning throughout the summer months. Games build content knowledge, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, and so much more. Plus, they’re just fun! Who doesn’t want to be an archaeologist, or search through Maya pyramids or explore space in an engaging game? However, we realize that the students who are most affected by Summer Learning Loss can’t afford these fun experiences. So we are proud to announce our new “Get One, Give One” initiative.

Through “Get One, Give One,” for every game purchased or downloaded this summer we will give a game to a low-income student. Download a Dig-It! game from the iOS App Store or download or buy a game on our website  and we will donate a game to one of our partner organizations to distribute to a child in need. Any game. Free or paid. Big or small. We’re serious about fighting Summer Learning Loss, but we need your help.

If you are or know an organization that can benefit from this campaign you can submit an application here.

As an added incentive, the initial donated game will be our brand new science game ExoTrex™, which with a pre-release retail price of $5.99. So, buy ExoTrex™ for yourself and know that a child is receiving access to a high-quality science game they couldn’t otherwise afford. Or play Excavate!™ for free and that child will still get ExoTrex™ to improve his/her chemistry skills before school starts back up in the fall.

The more you Get, the more we Give. So spend your summer building your vocabulary, exploring the Maya jungle and excavating artifacts! With 10 games to choose from (and more coming this summer), there’s something for everyone. Why not try them all? The kids suffering from Summer Learning Loss will thank you.

EXOTREX Summer Learning




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