The other day I heard a fascinating report on NPR about an economics professor who is working to develop engrossing video games for education. Blah, you might say. But just wait. The catch is that these games are supposed to be marketable for their entertainment first, and education second.
Unfortunately, I heard this report while driving and didn’t have a pen to jot down the name of the professor or organization that’s working on these games. While the specifics didn’t stick, the story certainly did. Video games that genuinely entertain while also educating are a worthy goal. A goal that hasn’t ever been realized.
Let’s think about it for a second. The concept totally makes sense. The best kind of education is an education that provides context and immerses the learning in a real-world experience. Video games have become great at recreating real-world experiences, PLUS they are much more forgiving then the real world. They allow for trial and error, for discovery and failure.
Imagine having gone through school learning historical facts such as the settlement of America by playing a Real Time Strategy game? Or imagine learning about space ships, engineering, and the moon landing by actually participating in a simulation of the event. I for one know that I would have remembered a whole lot more from my education if video games had been a bigger part of the experience.