Game-based learning has recently become more acceptable as an instructional method, but playing in school is nothing new. Even digital gaming in school has been around longer than you may realize. Having grown up during the heyday of 80s and 90s edutainment, I have a nostalgic fondness for some of those old-school games. For me learning about math, history, or literacy was always more interesting inside of a video game. Things have changed a great deal, but the basic fact remains that kids will automatically engage in learning that is fun. Let's, for a moment get trapped in some classic learning games. See if you can find the secret codes hidden or linked from this page to put in the Google Form below to escape back to the present before the presentation begins.
Often considered the grandfather of educational games, Oregon Trail was designed to teach school children about the realities of 19th-century pioneer life on the Oregon Trail. It is often considered the most influential educational game of all time. Getting to shoot buffalo didn't hurt it's popularity. Replay it again if you'd like.
Before Sid Meier's Civilization, a brilliant criminal named Carmen Sandiego and her henchmen were wreaking havoc and teaching geography. It spawned a number of sequels where Carmen traveled throughout various locales an even though time. There was also an animated tv series and 2 separate PBS gameshows with a catchy theme song. There were a number of sequels, but feel free to play the original.
Before Sid Meier's Civilization, a brilliant criminal named Carmen Sandiego and her henchmen were wreaking havoc and teaching geography. There were a number of sequels, but feel free to play the original.
While it was created in 1973, when Lemonade Stand was ported to the Apple II in 1979, it became an instant classic. It's a deceptively simple concept where players buy ingredients, advertise, and sell. It inspired a number of future finance games. Manage your business well, avoid bad weather, and you might become a citrus tycoon. How much do you think you can make? Here's a version to play.
Reader Rabbit is one of the most influential literacy games ever. Arriving in 1986 it was the precursor to Starfall and its kin. It had a rabbit named Reader who taught reading and spelling through a number of simple colorful mini-games. It was the title that launched The Learning Company which has added many more titles to the series since. There was even a Nintendo Wii version in 2011. Play the original.
So apparently math is more fun when when the numbers get munched or blasted. Granted at times these games amount to little more than math drills with flashy lights, but they were effective in engaging a generation in learning math skills. Right answers gave you rewards and animations while wrong answers could get you eaten by a Troggle. Play Number Munchers or Math Blaster Plus.
A District 75 digital breakout created by Sean Arnold