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Educational games are games that have been specifically designed to teach people about a certain subject, expand concepts, reinforce development, understand an historical event or culture, or assist them in learning a skill as they play. They include board, card, and video games.


Board games

A board game is a game played with counters or pieces that are placed on, removed from, or moved across a "board" (a premarked surface, usually specific to that game). Frequent subject matters for educational board games are geographical, and the board is a map of the region taught about.

Card games

An educational card game is any game using playing cards, either traditional or game-specific. Generally these games expand concepts, such as the food chain, set matching, etc. Flash card games are used to teach math, animal, and dinosaur species. Some card games improve memory.

Video games

Some people call these types of games edutainment because they combine education and entertainment. Closely related to the use of educational games is the use of what is known as Serious games. An educational computer game can be defined as an electronic medium with all the characteristics of a gaming environment that have intended educational outcomes targeted at specific groups of learners.

Video games can aid the development of proficiency by allowing users to interact with objects and manipulate variables. They are said to be particularly effective when designed to address a specific problem or teach a certain skill in curriculum subjects, where specific objectives can be stated and when deployed selectively within a context relevant to the learning activity and goal.

Simple types of games can be designed to address specific learning outcomes such as recall of factual content. For instance, the Nobel Prize Foundation website uses on-line games to aid children in understanding the discoveries made by its laureates by embedding the scientific knowledge as part of the game environment.

To aid in educating students and adults about the finer details of different political systems, numerous companies have developed simulations that immerse the player into different political systems by forcing them to make realistic political decisions. These games vary from running an actual election campaign to games that allow the player to make the day-to-day decisions of running a country, as seen in Democracy. These types of games are targeted at students, educators and adults alike.

Children's educational computer games

Video games have historically received more criticism than other forms of recreational learning because they are often perceived as or associated with issues such as mindless entertainment, enhanced social recluse, sexism and consumerism. Many children today also find these "educational" games to lack much interesting content to them, as they are considered by older children to be "for preschoolers" However, a shift from pure entertainment to educational tool has emerged in recent times. Children growing up today can benefit from educational video games because they are already exposed to a society that is increasingly dependent on digital technology.[1]

Researchers today have found that computer games could become part of the school curriculum after researchers found they had significant educational value. “The UK study concluded that simulation and adventure games - such as Sim City and RollerCoaster Tycoon, where players create societies or build theme parks, developed children's strategic thinking and planning skills””.

The medium of educational games provides an opportunity for teachers to introduce educational and playful elements into the learning environment. With computer-aided learning programs, teachers may assist students on social aspects such as critical learning, knowledge based communication and effective interpersonal skills that traditional methods of teaching cannot offer.[2]

As computer games are being adapted to the education system, the issue of classification and content regulation is being brought to attention. The issue of regulating game content is vital as educational game are created to be effective learning tools. Thus the game developer must have a comprehensive understanding of its young audience and their particular social and educational needs. At the same time, the game developer must balance between entertainment and accordance with the education syllabus.

Below are some examples of games targeting young users from the ages of about three years to mid-teens; beyond the mid-teens, subjects become so complex (e.g. calculus) that teaching via a game can be impractical. Numerous subgenres exist, each for a different field, such as maths games or typing games.

List of children's educational games

Adult educational computer games

Generic Skins for Computer Based Games

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), such as Moodle and Blackboard, can act as a front-end user interface for educational tests. Games based on such tests can be single or multi-player games. Such generic user interfaces are called skins.[3].

See also


  1. ^ Computer Games - Education, M/Cyclopedia of New Media
  2. ^ Dannii Foley. Computer Games - Education - Overview, M/Cyclopedia of New Media
  3. ^ Srinivasan Ramani et al. Games as Skins for Online Tests, HP Laboratories, July 21, 2008


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