Growing up amidst Mario, Luigi and the gang, I am no amateur when it comes to video games, but lately I can’t seem to keep with up with the rush of consoles. Every once in a while though, something pops up that catches my eye. Whether it is a video game based off of a favorite book (Harry Potter) or just an inspiringly interactive gaming console such as the Wii, I dabble occasionally in the gaming world. This time though, it was neither the allure of a whimsical alter-reality nor the appeal of a four-dimensional console. Rather, it was story that inspired the game that captivated me.
81 year old, Sandra Day O’Connor is a former Supreme Court justice who has decided to take a stab at the videogame world. In an effort to “revive the teaching of civics in American schools” and to better “prepare the next generation of kids to participate as citizens in a democracy,” O’Connor has unleashed iCivics. iCivics is a nonprofit organization looking to enhance students’ grasp of American history, laws and government through different web-based games.
In Do I Have a Right? players manage their own constitutional law firm, while in People’s Pie students engage in the management of the federal budget. All in all, these educational video games seek to recall lessons that students can use to become more well-rounded and involved citizens.
Although iCivics is currently linked to the United States, the lessons learned from such a development can be applied internationally. The passion for gaming is not bound within the borders of the United States; during the second annual Gamesfest Event in Dubai, researchers found over 86% of gamers in the Middle East purchase a game every three months. Gaming researchers find this statistic to be an “extremely healthy sign for the industry.”
With an evident passion for gaming in the Middle East, educational games will comfortably find a niche in the market. PeaceMaker is a computer-based stimulation created by the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University intending to teach Israeli and Palestinian students how they can work together to achieve peace. Voted as the “best transformation game” by the Games for Change Annual Contest, the game approaches an academic concept in an extremely successful manner.
Research shows that through game-based learning, students learn efficiently and become more engaged in their learning process. By shifting the direction of video games from purely entertainment to edutainment, we can take full advantage of the current youths’ passion for gaming. The next stop for these gamers after the computer screen? The United Nations.
To read more about iCivics, check out Newsweek‘s full article.
Keep Calm and Learn On,
Image Available Under CC Licensure by Marcos C.