The use of video games has caused rivers of ink to flow lately, almost always warning of the dangers of their abuse.
however, more and more voices claim that beyond this negative part, video games can and should be used for educational purposes. In these paragraphs, we will delve into this question and the main arguments that support it.
Can Video Games Be Used For Education?
Since video games became popular, particularly from the 1980s onwards and reaching a growing market share since, many industries have demonized them. They cautioned (and cautioned) of a number of consequences, often unfounded, that children might suffer simply to devote their free time to this activity.
But unlike these harsh criticisms, other professionals are asking a question: can video games be used in education? What if we’re talking about a way of entertainment that a lot of kids love, Why not use it as a way to bring educational content that would otherwise not be appealing to them?
Other digital media were gradually introduced into classrooms, as audio CDs and movies did at the time, whether they were created specifically for informational use or others that were also used for education. for the subject they were dealing with, and finally the use of computers, whiteboards and other devices. The logic is to think that video games can also be very useful if you know how to use them.
Some experts do not doubt this positive effect. The main thing is to know when in education the use of video games as a method of traditional lesson support should be used and thus consolidate knowledge. In addition, there are different ways to approach video games, which we will cover in detail in the next section.
Once we clearly understand its usefulness, the next question we might ask ourselves is how video games can be used in education. Depending on the intention with which they were created, we can establish the following classification.
1. Classic games
The first category we would find is classic video games i.e. games created with playful intentBut because of its plot or manipulated elements, teachers can also extract a didactic utility. Depending on the topic to be covered, many examples can be found. One case would be that of video games set in a particular historical epoch, which help to delve into the characteristics and events of that period.
There are many examples of historical video games, from the plentiful war genre, where Call of Duty, Medal of Honor or Battlefield sagas stand out, to those of the Wild West, like Red Dead Redemption or those that treat differently. like Assassin’s Creed, Age of Empires or Civilization. The examples are numerous, although obviously some will delve deeper into the historical context than others, where it will tiptoe.
It is important to keep in mind that video games, like any other entertainment work, such as movies or books, they don’t necessarily have to be true to life or historically truthful and can therefore introduce some or more elements of fiction into their plot and context. Therefore, it will be an important task for the teacher to point out these fictitious elements, so as not to create false learning.
but also they can be games as different and seemingly simple as MinecraftThis can perfectly well be used to explain to children certain geometry concepts which on paper might be more complex or tedious, and across the screen are much more appealing.
Another example could be the SimCity simulator or similar (Theme Park, Theme Hospital or Caesar), where the player gradually creates a city and discovers the needs of citizens and the difficulties of managing a territory, even when they are as simplified as in the settings of a game video.
2. Games suitable for education
Sometimes video game developers they take advantage of a work already created to generate an adaptation adapted to the school world. This is the case with the aforementioned Assassin’s Creed saga. These famous video games have released slices from historical eras as different as the Peloponnesian War, Ancient Egypt, the Crusader era, Renaissance Italy, Ming Dynasty China, and more.
This saga, after having swept it into its purely playful form, has decided to take advantage of its potential and create specific means to encourage the teaching of the historical moments in which some of its opuses take place. These are the so-called Discovery Tours, means by which the player can explore the open world of this era, with no other specific purpose than to admire the historical details.
In the case of the tour offered in the Odyssey installment, the student has the opportunity to know ancient Greece in all its splendor, By visiting nearly thirty different places, taking advantage of individual audio guides that will further expand the teachings of this video game. To make matters worse, at the end of each of these levels a small knowledge test is offered to verify that the player / student has correctly integrated the data.
Another video game that had already been mentioned in the previous point would be Minecraft, a game based on the interaction with a three-dimensional world made up of cubes with different textures. The developers of this video game, like those of Assassin’s Creed, they created an exclusive way for educational contexts.
This game has the advantage of being particularly popular with children, so it is an extraordinary way to bring different concepts to children through fun activities and therefore to pay special attention and therefore retain new knowledge in a way. more effective compared to traditional educational methodologies.
3. Games created for educational purposes
Other developers have tried to answer the question of whether video games can be used in education in a different way: to create video games for purely educational purposes. These are tools designed for educational use, which can be great in the classroom., So that the teacher is the one who guides the activity or in the child’s house, so that he can use it with the support of his parents or even themselves.
Many video games have been created for this purpose, although logically their reach is more localized in academia and in families, so they do not have as much impact as large works of interactive entertainment. Some examples could be the Knowledge Adventure saga, which raises the exploration of different scenarios in nature, Rabbit Reader, where children are helped to learn to read, write or deal with simple math concepts.
Another series of video games created specifically for education would be those from GCompris. This saga offers different games depending on the educational topic you want to work on. That’s why it offers a whole range of options ranging from algebra or reading to geography, natural sciences, or even office work, animation, puzzle games, memory, chess and more.
these video games are raised so that even 2 year olds can have their first experiences with these interactive activities, As they are perfectly suited to their abilities. They have ways to increase the complexity so that they can be a challenge for older kids, providing great fun activities for kids up to 10 years old.
Another advantage of GCompris video games is that they are free software, so anyone can download and even edit them. depending on the wishes and needs of the particular family. In this way, it is accessible for free to people from anywhere in the world just by having an internet connection to be able to get the files.
While it may seem that video games are new elements in educational settings, the truth is that, beyond the classrooms, these tools have already been used in other fields which were in a way also formative, Even if it was not in children. This is the case, for example, with simulators, both flight and driving, which make it possible to train pilots in very specific situations.
For example, Formula 1 drivers use this type of software to be able to test certain maneuvers or to know in depth the characteristics of a circuit. But the course of the simulators goes much further. And it is that NASA itself and other space agencies use these tools to anticipate possible situations that may arise during a mission beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Aguilar, L., Adell, F. (2018). Assessment tool for an educational video game that facilitates the learning of prosodic and communicative skills. Distance education magazine.
- Etxeberria, F. (2008). Video games, consumption and education. University of Salamanca Publishing.
- Martínez, JM, Egea, A., Arias, L. (2018). Evaluation of an educational video game with historical content. The opinion of the students. RELATEC – Latin American Journal of Educational Technology.