Identifying Great Video Games for Education

by Hap Aziz

In her blog post “10 Surprising Ways to Spot a Great Video Game,” Shira Lee Katz lists 10 characteristics of video games that have value for learners. Additionally, she provides two example video games for each category, and she provides a brief description of each game along with the intended player age range. Though the game examples are all for learners in elementary school, the characteristic categories can be applied to all age groups at any education level. It would be quite instructive to build such a list for the college-aged population.

Now, an article I would really like to see would be “10 Surprising Ways to Spot a Great Course.” A great hurdle to overcome, of course, is that we do not have a convenient mechanism for learners (or other educators, for that matter) to try out or review courses before actually taking them. Until there is better visibility into the course experience (whether it is online, face-to-face, or any combination in between), it will be exceedingly difficult to compare courses on a wide scale and develop a true rating system that allows the learner-as-consumer to make informed choices about course selection.



Filed under computer games, education course content, education technology, face-to-face instruction, games, Hap Aziz, online education

2 responses to “Identifying Great Video Games for Education

  1. Pingback: Identifying Great Video Games for Education | Learning Through ... | A Parent's Resource on Educational and Fun Games for Students |

  2. Randall Wunder-Smith

    While I appreciate and agree with much of what Katz says, her article is targeted at parents. Yet I find that very few parents have either the knowledge or the time to research games for their children, and when they do their attention focuses more on what to avoid (i.e., violence/gore, sexual themes, etc.) than what will accomplish positive ends.

    I do like that Katz doesn’t refer to so-called educational games in her list, but rather to actual videogames, such as Scribblenauts and Portal 2. Those games are lauded for being great games, rather than great learning. And still it’s plain that learning plays an integral factor in giving a game long-lasting appeal.

    The question I would ask is the same that is posed for literary texts: how do we define “great”? In games, perhaps, it’s easier to point to success in terms of journalist reception, and even easier to point to units sold: one reasons is that we don’t yet make many claims that this or that game is art (another argument, though). If that’s the case, then a quick scan of Metacritic’s games section will tell you what most people game journalists consider great games.

    I’d suggest that we start with what sells or impresses, and ask why. What role *does* learning play in making great games great? Does it conform to educational theory, or does it stretch or even explode it? And if the latter, does that mean that how we learn is changing with technology?

    And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Rock Band 3 to play.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s