Video Games Don’t Have To Be Educational To Spark Learning

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When I was in high school, the best way I could describe myself was as a parent’s worst nightmare: I didn’t care about my education, didn’t do homework, and was known to sleep in class. My SAT score was so bad that I still don’t know how I did! My very frustrated mom threw that letter in the trash.

I had my reasons for why I didn’t do my best, but teenagers and kids today are dealing with a global pandemic on top of their own reasons. Even if they have access to a computer and stable WiFi for online schooling, which many children don’t have, this is a tough time to remain motivated to learn.

While I have never loved reading endless pages of a textbook, one thing I’ve always loved is video games.

When I was a teenager playing Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, I definitely wasn’t looking to learn things. But with 11 main AC games all set during different times and places in history — like ancient Egypt, Greece, and America during the Revolutionary War — I was bound to learn something, even if just by accident. And I definitely did.

One day, my history teacher passed out blank maps of the Caribbean. Surprise: It was a quiz I had forgotten about. We had to label countries and major cities. Luckily, I’d been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, set in the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy in the early 18th century. So I was able to draw on my life as a pirate to fill in the map, and I got an A.

I think that if you’re able to get your head around it, video games — even the non-educational kind — can help kids get interested in learning something. It worked for me — when I was seven, I learned to multiply quickly through a purely educational game called Treasure Mountain!, which had me solving math problems to progress up a mountain and collect treasure in a neverending loop. And then, of course, there was Assassin’s Creed. See more at GPB News.

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