As game developers look at a complicated education marketplace studded with persistent challenges, a few guidelines have begun to emerge to help make it easier for teachers to use and see value in educational games.
The success and popularity of Minecraft in and out of classrooms is no surprise. It's one of the best examples of the potential of learning with games because it embraces exploration, discovery, creation, collaboration, and problem-solving while allowing teachers to shepherd play toward any subject area. But Minecraft is not the only game of this kind. Take a look at some of these.
Video games can offer a playful approach to learning a new concept, providing a jumping off point for diving deeply into a topic. Games can’t do all the teaching, but they are an engaging way to get kids thinking -- even about ethics.
Non-profit video game developer GlassLab is working with teachers and students to improve its new educational game, SimCityEDU. The game asks players to accomplish environmental science missions that are based on the Common Core State Standards and assesses student learning during play.
Increasingly, educators are looking to research about how kids learn to influence teaching practices and tools. What seemed like on-the-fringe experiments, like game-based learning, have turned into real trends, and have gradually made their way into many (though certainly not most) classrooms.
Robot Turtles is a tabletop board game that teaches children as young as 3 years old the fundamentals of computer programming. Entrepreneur Dan Shapiro came up with the idea while playing with his kids, and took a leave of absence from Google to get the game into production.
Game-based learning has become synonymous with educational video games in some circles, but low-tech games have been used with great success in classrooms for a while. In fact, games that don’t require costly technology have a lot to offer the intrepid educator both as a learning tool and an education mindset, according to game-based learning advocates.
A group of researchers in MIT’s Education Arcade are trying to harness the power of MMO games to teach high school students to think like scientists and mathematicians. Their game, The Radix Endeavor, is designed to be an educational game, and capitalizes on the interactions students can have as a way to build their knowledge and skills.