Teaching and video games

In my experience as a high school teacher, I noticed there is some reluctance on using game as a powerful educational weapon. It seems that the generation gap that exists between teacher and student is an unbridgeable abyss which will never allow these two worlds to be connected.

From No Wand Studios, as part of this new emerging industry, we want to give some guidance to teachers who are interested in including these tools in their classrooms. The text will be centered on the teaching of social sciences (SS CC from now), but we will be happy to propose alternatives to other subjects. Do not hesitate to contact (hi@nowandstudios.com) and see which formula is best suited to your needs.

We can’t deny that students today are immersed in an audiovisual culture. Much has been criticized over its advantages and disadvantages, but we can try to use it. One of such audiovisual media in which they are immersed is video games. As was exposed by Juan Francisco Jimenez, in 2005 the video game industry surpassed the income from film and music industries; and in 2008 it had a turnover of 1.432 million Euros placing us in the fourth European country and sixth in the world of consumption of entertainment.

For many sociologists the game is the gateway through which young people approach the so hackneyed Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), we should teach how to make a good use of these resources. So, this innovation plan has two objectives:

On the one hand, within those lessons, which are not purely academic but are part of teaching, we should provide guidance on how to play, teach how to play in a responsible way. Students should know how much to play so that doesn’t have an impact in the time that teenagers should devote to theirs other “obligations” such as the study, social relations, etc.

On the other hand, we should guide them on what to play. The latter should also help them form a critical attitude towards an issue, develop the ability to review and screening against excessive stimuli they receive in their daily lives. After a session where we try to create these rules of play, we could address the challenge of combining entertainment and education. And remember that the development of critical thinking is one of the objectives of the curriculum of SS. CC.

One proposal for student exercises is for instance where you need to compare what is real or not within the game -historically speaking-as discussed in class or is the student on its own who makes an essay about what’s well or wrong in the game – always referring to its truth content not a matter of tastes-. It is very similar to the work that has been done with the historical film, but taking a step forward. In addition to the videogame, we could also include work with the numerous table games of historical themes or the contact with the new phenomenon of historical recreation that is emerging in Spain.

This would certainly increase the motivation factor. In fact, we offer an example to use during the explanation of the Renaissance. When the teacher explains the beautiful dome Brunelleschi did for the cathedral of Florence, some images or videos of Assassin’s Creed 2 can we used. In this simple way, we get the students to easily approach a knowledge that we want to convey. Which is essential for the proper development of the knowledge broadcaster chain.


Florence Cathedral of Brunelleschi recreated in Assassin’s Creed 2 and a real photo image.

We also have powerful high simulation games as offered by Paradox (Europa Universalis, Victoria, Crusader King …) that allow us to perform various exercises such as which groups have to run a country, or that given some events that have been played in class, identify what happened historically and what was invented in the game. The chances are high.

*Cover photos property of @damienhypolite

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