Monday, October 06, 2003

Games are better educators than we think

Games are better educators than we think
This thoughtful article is full of good ideas and interesting connections, showing relationships between e-learning, games, literature and historical accuracy. It doesn't have all the answers, but asks good questions and points the way to the sweet spot between educational and entertaining.
"The fact that they generally teach us about fictional worlds or nonacademic issues is secondary to the fact that history, literature, geography, art, and pretty much anything else can be taught effectively in a game environment. And not only will the learner absorb and retain the knowledge, he will do so without even realizing (consciously) that he is learning at all -- learning is implicit in play. Video games can become the electronic equivalent of The da Vinci Code -- educational while fun.

Any one of us who played through Morrowind could easily ace a quiz on Vvardenfell geography, religion, politics, flora, whatever. We could analyze Tribunal laws, assess the impact of Daedra worship on Dwemer/Dunmer relations, and produce sociological postulations on Ashlander tribal structure."
Another good quote: "The point is that though Morrowind happens to be about a fictional culture in an imaginary world, there's no reason why games must be limited to that." He goes on to talk about games that recreate events and environments from literature, which students are studying anyway. Ideally, some literature is likely to be entertaining to students...moreso than say, European history, which would probably require historical accuracy to qualify as educational.

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