GIPI · Grupo Imágenes Palabras e Ideas

Sports video games: teamwork and sports practices


Sports and leisure, either together or separately, play an important role in the life of teenagers. Here, we show a research carried out in the Secondary Education classrooms with sports video games that, due to their close connection to the immediate reality of professional sports and to the identification of the players with their favourite teams or sportsmen, represent an attractive learning tool.


Two key questions gave us the guidelines to define what we wanted to achieve:

  • What similarities and differences can be established between the role of the player in the virtual world and the role of the player in the real world of stadiums?
  • To what extent can we work on the identity of teenagers through the use of sports video games?

Project Development

This research was conducted throughout the 2008/2009 school year with students from Secondary Education within the P.E. class. In this context, we used the sports video games FIFA and NBA Live.

Although at the beginning teachers’ expectations from the video game were related to working on specific curriculum aspects, once the experience was underway the initial premises were transformed and adapted to the setting and the group’s particularities.


In this way, the class worked not just on typical P.E. objectives, but also on digital literacy implied by the introduction of the video game in the classroom and the possibility of these tools becoming learning devices was revealed.


Identifying with players

The building of the teenager’s personality through sports video games is three-fold: Individual, in the case of identifying with a player, collective, in the case of doing so with the team and cultural, in the case of doing so with a country.  In the development of this virtual identity, the player has to make “real” choices which make him or her commit fully with his or her new role.


Building new settings

Sports video games combine two types of rules: internal video game rules and the rules of the sport itself. Taking into account the connection between them, the video game offers the possibility of exceptionally modifying the real rules, building a new space designed by the player in accordance with his or her specific goals and needs.

Rules and standards

The concept of rules revealed in the real as well as in the virtual game opens a topic of discussion which is specially relevant in adolescence, time at which many reassess the standards or rules inherent to living in a society.


Agreement of collaboration between the University of Alcalá and the video game company Electronic Arts (EA), within its Corporate Social Responsibility Plan. Date: June 2009.

Also participating

  • Students and teachers from the Secondary Education Institute Manuel de Falla (Coslada).

More information

Related publications

  • Lacasa, P.; Méndez, L.; Martínez, R. (2008). Aprender a contar historias y a reflexionar con videojuegos comerciales. In Gross, B. ‘Videojuegos y Aprendizaje’. Barcelona: Grao.
  • Lacasa, P., Méndez, L., & Martinez, R. (2008) ‘Bringing commercial games into the classrooms’ Computers and Composition, 25, pp. 331-358.
  • Lacasa, P.; Martínez-Borda, R.; Méndez, L. (2008) ‘Developing new literacies using commercial digital games as educational tools’. Linguistis & Education, 19 (2), pp. 85-106.
  • Lacasa, P.; Méndez, L.; Martínez, R. (2009). ‘Learning using videogames as educational tools: Building bridges between commercial and serious games’. In Marja Kankaanranta & Pekka Neittaanmäki (Eds) ‘Design and use of serious games’, (107-126). Milton Keynes, UK: Springer.


Website Research Group Imágenes, Palabras e Ideas. Madrid. 2009.
Coordination: Pilar Lacasa. Editing and digital support: David Herrero Martínez. Web Master: Luis Briso de Montiano Aldecoa. Graphic Design: Rebeca Ochoa Bernabé

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