Games for Education

I'm presenting at the Christian Teacher's Association annual convention in Abbotsford on October 10, and one of the workshops I'm doing is on teaching with computer games.  I'm planning on putting a summary of the actual presentation on the blog later, but for now, I'm just posting a list of games that I want to have out here as a resource.

Please understand that this is not a comprehensive list.  If you have some good stuff to add, email me and I'll check it out.  At some point, this is probably going to need to become a more permanent website (or I'll have to find a page/site that already does this).

Political Games:
- A Force More Powerful is large-scale simulator of non-violent protest. Pretty involved, but definitely interesting.
- There's a lot of American stuff on the internet: the Re-districting Game, Howard Dean for Iowa game, a lot of the Persuasive Games stuff (see below) fits this description

- Dr. Kevin Kee of Brock University has been involved in student-made history games: Outbreak (about managing Montreal's 1885 smallpox outbreak), the Niagara 1812 games (a set of games about the war of 1812), Tavern Keeper (under development)
- There are a ton of economic and warfare simulation games. A quick search Manifesto Games would find you some interesting stuff (e.g. the intriguing looking Making History: The Calm & the Storm)

Math & Science games:
- The Mosquito game, which teaches about malaria
- New commercial math game called Dimenxian M (although as a gamer, I have to say it's a frustrating game to play-this genre of game demands high quality, and it's not that great)

Broader social studies:
- Food Force, a UN-sponsored game about food relief operations.
- Peacemaker, an intriguing simulation about trying to resolve Israeli-Palestinian struggles.
- 3rd World Farmer, a great simple simulator of the economic and social difficulties confronting farmers in developing nations.
- many of the serious games listed below

Cognitive development:
- Language games: Scrabble and equivalents, the PopCap word games
- Reasoning games: Soduku, low-tech games from Everett Kaser (the one I know is Sherlock), there are a million of these out there-do a Google search or go to some of the general-purpose indie sites listed below

Physical fitness etc.:
- Nintendo Wii. I haven't played Wii Fit, but from all accounts, there are better ways to get fit. Nevertheless, it's fun and can be an aerobic workout with the right game (Wii Sports) and an active style of play.
- Dance Dance Revolution. The classic Japanese dance game requires an active workout.

Good sites with catalogues of Educational, Serious, Persuasive & Activist games:
***Warning here: because these are sites with a lot of different kinds of players, you can find some pretty disturbing stuff on some of these sites-material that is not appropriate for kids. And because links lead to links be, careful about the access that young students have.***
- check out Manifesto Games list of educational indie games. Manifesto Games is a site that is trying to create an alternative indie game culture. Most of the stuff featured here is of reasonably quality, although some of it will probably not fit your taste.
- MadMonkey is a less selective indie games site, and it has a lot of smaller, cheaper, simpler games.
- Game Tunnel is another general-purpose indie site with lots of reviews.
- Newsgaming is a site that does topical activist critique of current events and culture. These are decidedly slanted political games, usually, but simple, accessible and provocative. Not for everyone. These three, for example, deal with terrorism: September 12, Madrid, Kabul Kaboom!
- Persuasive Games is another opinionated game-making site. These games are generally more polished, however, and deal with a broader array of topics.
- Matrix Games sells dozens of fairly high-quality historical games. The vast majority of them, however, are hard-core, highly-complex war games. Not really for the casual gamer or most students.
- Brettspielwelt is a German site with inconsistent English translation. It's a place where you can try out dozens of high quality German board games (Germans make the best board games). The educational value varies, but if you want to try some high quality board games-maybe to buy and try in class?-this would be a good place to go. Requires a log-in, and is not the easiest site to figure out.

Large-scale commercial simulations:
- Hard-core, complicated strategy: Civilization, Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, Colonization
- More general-audience simulations: SimCity, Caesar III, Tropico, Spore


Last updated Oct. 15th, 2008 at 3:51pm by Kevin Schut