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Educational Video Games - Teaching Tools That Are Starting to Catch On

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Gaming has come a long way from the days of Mortal Kombat tournaments held in suburban basements. Now, online gaming is being used both nationally and internationally as an educational resource that truly makes learning fun. Gaming is increasingly used in classrooms, after-school programs, and even as a homeschool resource to help young people learn about academic topics while building confidence in using technology.

Learning Through Gaming

In recent years, gaming has evolved to become more than just an entertaining activity. Gaming has become a learning technology that has the potential to offer numerous educational benefits. In fact, incorporating video games into lesson plans has been shown to improve students’ motivation to learn. This, in turn, increases their willingness and ability to pay attention to their schoolwork, and it promotes heightened engagement and participation with the subject matter being taught.

Further, educational gaming can reduce classroom and learning-associated stress by helping children build socialization and comprehension skills in a fun and familiar format.  Instead of viewing learning as work, children come to associate learning and education with entertainment and socialization. This reduces anxiety and increases retention and overall academic performance.

New York City’s Institute of Play is a prime example of the benefits of integrating gaming with education. The Institute opened in 2009, and its mission is to help educational facilities and teachers from public, private, and charter schools incorporate gaming into their curriculum. The Institute’s gaming/learning topics span across age groups, from younger children through high schoolers, and include topics as diverse as stranger safety, architecture, math, and ethics. Kids love this approach to education, and the Institute has now helped more than 15,000 teachers and 50 educational institutions, across 15 U.S states and 30 countries.

Gaming is also becoming a popular learning tool among parents who believe in homeschool education.  Already a phenomenon among children, parents and home-learning organizations have created curricula that integrate popular sandbox game Minecraft into learning goals. Topics integrated into the Minecraft world include history, literature, reading, writing, math, science, and geography.

Classroom Gaming Gets Pushback from Traditionalists

Of course, the implementation of gaming as a learning tool has its critics. For starters, there are some who believe entertainment has no place in classrooms because it is a distraction, not a supplement, to traditional learning methods. Others fear that we don’t have enough information about the impacts of children’s prolonged use of technology, and adding gaming to education may have negative impacts of which we are net yet aware.

As a result, many schools are hesitant to add gaming into their curricula. In fact, integrating gaming into classrooms is often prevented altogether by standardized requirements like the Common Core state standards. But of course, whenever public institutions put up barriers, enterprising entrepreneurs find a way around them. There are many indie gaming companies developing games that specifically address Common Core guidelines, and soon gaming may become a new standard in classrooms around the world.

Gaming Builds Skills and Abilities

Even outside the classroom, gaming promotes problem-solving and teaches strategizing and memorization in a fun and engaging way. Gaming also fosters creativity and content assimilation, and often inspires gamers to form communities around the characters, worlds, and experiences they have become passionate about. This can help gamers build personal abilities, self-esteem, and social skills in an environment where they feel comfortable just being themselves.

Block & Chain Game Studios recognizes the power of gaming, and we’re dedicated to building online experiences that engage people and build communities. The talented team of artists, game designers, and developers at Block & Chain Studios are coming up with new ideas every day that are inspired by a strong desire to make the world a better place. By no means are we claiming that video gaming can end global poverty or establish world peace, but it can help people learn the skills and information they need in order to make these things possible in the future. Check out the new gaming experiences that Block & Chain has to offer – you never know, you might learn something!

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