Bringing learning to students in a format with which they’re already familiar can help K–12 educators deliver important lessons. Video games can be used to teach students about the complex problems in the modern world, and they can teach students how to be better prepared for the future.
Interacting with the game itself, and with peers through the games, can teach students skills that will be necessary in a digital future.
Online Games Provide Dynamic Content with Modern Context
In addition to the importance of play, one of the benefits of bringing video games to a K–12 classroom is the opportunity to frame lessons with recent, real-life examples.
“Video games allow for a dynamic learning curriculum,” says Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and chief executive officer of the Entertainment Software Association. “When you have a structured curriculum that has a textbook, the changes come slowly over the years. Game makers can write and update games flexibly with respect to current events and learning goals.”
Minecraft: Education Edition is one of the games educators can turn to for breaking down today’s complex challenges into a digestible, teachable format for students.
Minecraft has released education edition games such as Good Trouble: Lessons in Social Justice and Active Citizen, which teach students about civil rights movements and Nobel Peace Prize laureates, respectively.
These games allow students to explore guided lessons before attempting to find their own solutions in the game’s “sandbox mode.” This setting encourages players to find solutions to complex and open-ended problems akin to those they just learned about.
“Once they’re done with the game play, Minecraft allows students to build solutions to problems within the game,” says Arana Shapiro, managing director and chief learning officer at Games for Change. “They can try new things in a way that they might not be able to in real life. They’re able to take on different perspectives, do complex problem-solving. They’re able to work collaboratively and think systemically, and all of those things are able to happen in their classroom, playing a game.”