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Education in Games

As an avid video gamer, I do like to think about some of the powerful applications video games have.

When I was growing up, I wanted nothing more but to play games. So much so, I didn’t even realise I was playing video games that were incredibly educational. I will always remember the phrase: “Beep, beep! The area of a circle is Pi r Squared. Mhmhmhm, Pi!

 

But with this in mind, games of these kinds are sort of on the down and out. Instead, some of the most educational video games out there right now are also some of the most fun. Games such as Minecraft are being used in classes, Second Life has been around for a long time but is still actively used for educational purposes and sometimes online games like World of Warcraft have been used for research, education and more.

It’s incredible to think that the medium we use to have fun is also used to teach people some of the most fundamental skills in our lives! This is a quick look into a really cool experience I had of education in gaming.

My early encounters of education in gaming might be basic, with playing video games specifically targeting children to teach them a subject in a fun and safe way. Previously on GeekOut, we discussed Gamification and how that’s affecting the business world. We’ve not even begun to discuss Gamification in education but that’s another topic all together!
Next I got involved in the strange world of Second Life. This is a game where you control an avatar of your creation and fly around the world, chatting, playing games and more. It is literally a second life. I once ran into a shop when exploring by myself and I had no clue what I was doing… So I cloned a copy of the shops sign and stuck it to me. Yes, I literally became a walking billboard for this guy.

I don’t know why, but I kept returning to the store. It looked cool, I guess. The owner eventually moved from the corner of the shop, I had always thought it was a Mannequin. He started to type out “You’re a strange kid, no? Wearing signs, generating me profit, putting donations in regularly. Thank you :)”
It felt nice to know I had given back to the shop in some small way. To me the in-game money was easy to make: I just sold objects and scripts in game. The owner of the shop was a Geologist, which immediately fascinated me. He told me some real world day and time, before saying “Can you be here?” Well, why not?

Turns out he was pretty well known in his field, so people from all over the world paid in-game currency for a lecture he was hosting in game. With the special effects he rigged up in game, it was an outstanding lecture! I was about to pay up but instead he told me that by supporting him, I had done more than enough.

I thought this was pretty cool and so if a well known Geologist is reading this and lectured people in Second Life, this post gives you a special nod! Have you all ever had an educational experience through video games? As always, leave your comments below or over on Facebook/Twitter.

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