Educators are always looking for new ways to make learning fun for their students. For that reason, many teachers have begun incorporating popular video games into their classroom curriculum. Because video games require problem-solving and strategy, it is only natural to assume they would fit nicely in the modern day classroom. Nearly 51 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade play video games, so their inclusion into the educational process makes perfect sense. These are just a few examples of ways in which popular video games can make perfect classroom illustrations.
Civilization V is a computer game that was released in September 2010. The game’s premise is for a player to lead a civilization from prehistoric times into the future. This game is appropriate for grades 6 through 12. Civilization V teaches resource management, long-term strategic thinking and collaboration. It can be a perfect teaching aid in government, geography or social studies classes. Other lessons that can be taught from this game include an understanding of political tactics, communication and the impact of geography, diplomacy and trade, just to name a few.
Portal 2 is a puzzle/platform video game. It is available for computers running Microsoft Windows as well as for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles. This game is appropriate for grades 4-12. The object of the game is to solve puzzles that allow the players to tele-port their characters through an elaborately designed maze. It encourages problem-solving, visualization, thinking strategies and collaboration, and can be a fun way to illustrate certain physics and math principles to kids.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is an action role-playing game. It is available for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This game is appropriate for grades 8-12; its primary object is to complete an epic quest to defeat Alduin, a powerful dragon intent on destroying the world. Along the way, Skyrim teaches students resource management, problem-solving and various thinking strategies as they create a character living his or her life in the game’s fantasy universe. The game can be a fun and unique means of teaching English language arts, as well as the meaning of symbolism, rhetoric, style, point of view, purpose, characterization, mood, perspective, propaganda and themes.
Armadillo Run is a transport puzzle game available through the publisher’s official website. This game is appropriate for grades 4 through 12. The object of Armadillo Run is to transport the Armadillo, which is a yellow basketball-like object, to a blue goal – also known as a portal. This is accomplished by using various materials to construct a path. The catch is to construct this path without going over budget. Armadillo Run, therefore, can be a great way to teach physics and science. It also helps students understand project management, collaboration, problem-solving and budgeting.
Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game for the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This game is best used for grades 8 through 12. It is set in the year 2277 after a nuclear apocalypse. The player’s character is forced to leave the safety of an underground vault in order to track down his father, who disappears under mysterious circumstances. As the player journeys through the outside world, he is forced to deal with other human survivors – some friendly and some not. It is a typical action strategy game that requires thinking ahead in order to accomplish a goal. Fallout 3 can be used to help teach English language arts. It helps students understand the meaning of point of view, style, metaphor, propaganda, rhetoric and characterization.
Using video games in the classroom is a great way for teachers to re-engage uninterested students. Kids who never listen to a traditional lesson often perk up when this type of alternative teaching method is implemented. Since video games and technology are so much a part of the modern-day student’s life, it only makes sense that teachers use them to illustrate basic concepts. Contrary to popular belief, video games are more than just shooting and jumping around. Most video games require long-term planning and strategy to accomplish a goal. It is a wise teacher who incorporates video games into the curriculum. Using video games in the classroom shows students that learning does not have to be boring.
WTN News: Video Games in the Classroom [http://wtnnews.com/articles/513/]
Educause Review Online: Serious Games: Incorporating Video Games in the Classroom [http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/serious-games-incorporating-video-games-classroom]
Edutopia: Video Games for Learning: Resource Roundup [http://www.edutopia.org/video-games-classroom-learning-resources]
Edudemic: 6 Video Games to Use in Your Classroom Tomorrow [http://edudemic.com/2012/01/6-video-games-to-use-tomorrow-in-your-classroom/]