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August 22, 2019
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Education through Games

by Rob Burns on 08/13/19 10:29:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Games are a powerful to tool to transcend education. This has been proven countless times through the history of games. Oregon Trail and all its iterations through the years are great examples of teaching history through games. There are many other classics, such as Reader Rabbit, Treasure MathStorm, and Zoombinis.  As of today, there are tons of educational games.

These games come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are purely meant to teach, and they might be made specifically for school. On the other hand, some games are designed to be fun and education is an added bonus. There are many ways that education and video games may come together, but we are going to discuss modding as a learning tool for children. Modding is a great way to learn by doing.

Minecraft, obviously, is a hugely popular game that comes with a wide set of modding tools. This is a great avenue to teach children and make it fun.

Many students often ask, “What is the point of this” or “When will I ever use this,” when learning a new topic. Modding provides an outlet to teach important and fundamental lessons in a way that a child can appreciate its usefulness. Jon, a friend and educator, finds all students, even though those not into games, have fun creating and tweaking games.

A student will need to learn about math, logic, art, and teamwork to make something cool. It is a great confidence booster for students to have something to show for all their hard work. It can be a wonderful start for a future in programming and game development.

Many current game programmers, or any programmer for that matter, began with making games, whether it was building them from scratch or making mods. For example, before starting Facebook Mark Zuckerberg programmed computer games as a child. It is a great way to be introduced to programming and other technical fields, such as modeling, sound development, and digital art. Many children love video games and would adore the process of creation.

Minecraft has many tutorials for getting started with modding. Anyone with an Internet connection can start to learn. An adventurous student can begin on their own, but many students may need to support. The classroom provides a good environment to learn and make friends. Another option is to find a tutor or mentor to help out.

Whichever program, a student should start slow. It is hard to learn programming the first time. It can be discouraging. It is the utmost importance to stay positive. It should be clear to the student that mistakes are fine. Everyone make mistakes when learning something new. These lessons should be drilled into the student, so that they don’t give up. A big part of teaching is not just the material, but building the confidence of the students.

Although we mentioned Minecraft, another great game to into modding and building games is Roblox, which is super popular. Recently, the monthly active users for Roblox exceeded Minecraft. It does not matter which game you choose. It can also be a different one. Just find one that a student enjoys and the rest will follow. There has been a huge push towards STEM education, and we think games can be a great start to get children interested.


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