Videogames are a common way of expressing history of our nation. To some people, history is a rather boring topic and it is hard to pick up a book or textbook and read about different time periods like say, the Revolutionary War, World War 2 and other topics relevant to our history. All people learn differently. Some people prefer a more “hands on” approach to learning as opposed to reading. This is where videogames can be very effective.

Program and videogame designers take advantage of this and create a virtual world, put the people in the time period of history and let them explore and learn. For example, Ubisoft’s “Assassins Creed 3” puts the gamer in the character Connor and watches as he grows and helps the revolutionaries in the Revolutionary War. Granted, most of the stories are skewed in some kind of way to get the fictional character Connor involved, but you do see the big names involved in the war like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, the traitor Benedict Arnold, Paul Revere and many others. You also take part in different parts of the war as well. For example, the gamer takes control of Connor and helps the revolutionaries defeat the red coats at the Battle of Bunker Hill; the gamer also has Connor take part in the Boston Tea Party. As stated before, some of the events are skewed, but their base is accurate enough that the gamer can have a small basis of knowledge on the major events of the revolutionary war. The way that technologies are advancing in our current century, institutions that put virtual gaming in their methods of instructing students could become much more popular.

Videogames are becoming a popular form of entertainment in the United States. According to Jessica Trybus, CEO of Etcetera Edutainment, “In the US, nearly 170 million people played computer and videogames in 2008, spending a record $11.7 billion.” (http://www.newmedia.org/game-based-learning–what-it-is-why-it-works-and-where-its-going.html) Videogames are clearly a popular form of entertainment by these numbers. What is even more interesting is how game-based learning can be more effective than traditional methods of learning. The figure below displays this. (http://www.newmedia.org/game-based-learning–what-it-is-why-it-works-and-where-its-going.html)

 

Traditional Training (lectures, online tutorials)

Hands-on Training

Game-based Learning

Cost-effective

X

X

Low physical risk/liability

X

X

Standardized assessments allowing student-to-student comparisons

X

X

Highly engaging

X

X

Learning pace tailored to individual student

X

X

Immediate feedback in response to student mistakes

X

X

Student can easily transfer learning to real-world environment

X

X

Learner is actively engaged

X

X

 

Videogames can be a very effective method of learning to those that take advantage of it. Institutions should look more into what videogames can offer to education and take advantage of it because the world is changing; videogames are continuing to grow and will be a big part of our future in the US.

Edwin Marrero

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