Video games are often viewed merely as a form of entertainment and rarely have they been seen as instruments of learning. Yet, researchers and others alike have found a way to turn video games into platforms of positive change.

As times have progressed to the digital age, video game developers are constantly searching for ways to reach a wider audience. Whether it’s gaming behemoth Capcom teaming up with Gaikai in order to provide a streaming service to the latter’s affiliates, or UK-based gaming company Gaming Realms teaming up with Bear Group Ltd. in order to launch the Spin Genie site, technology is the future and no company can succeed without it, no matter what the business objectives are. Everyone understands that we have been fully submerged into a digital world, thus technology has undoubtedly become a vital part of our everyday lives. We spend so much of our time using various forms of technology, but rather than having it consume our time, it should be utilized as a strategy to enrich our living experiences.

Children, adults, and everyone in between all learn through real-life application, yet how much real life experience can a student receive when education is limited to textbooks? Marc Prensky explains that teachers, or what he calls “digital immigrants”, have to adapt to the learning strategies appropriate for the students, or the “digital natives”. This generation of learners has been immersed in technology much longer than the digital immigrants, and so they must implement learning acquisition methods for the most effective outcomes, particularly digital game-based learning.

Professor and Game Designer Katie Salen saw an opportunity for children to learn through unlikely methods like video games, which initiated her to build a New York public school surrounded by digital game-based learning called Quest 2 Learn. Just like any video game, the goals of the school are quest based. A fellow Quest 2 Learn educator explains that they’re “trying to prove that game design can help kids think deeper and more abstractly about everything else… it is this generation’s mode of discourse. It’s a fully mainstreamed form of art like cinema is. A hundred years ago you couldn’t study cinema in school. Now every school has a cinematography class”.

Although it is a relatively new phenomenon for teaching methodologies, this digital strategy is making headway in the education industry. Educators need to understand that video games can be used to simulate real-life problems, which will then teach students the necessary skills for critical thinking, and essentially prepare them for the real world.

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