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Can Games Such As 'sim City' Be Used As A Successful Learning Tool?

2359 words - 9 pages

The aim of this essay is to evaluate whether or not the game "SimCity" can be used as a successful learning tool and if students learn from this game. I am going to illustrate the potential for learning available within this game and what the game can teach students. I will study and analyse experiments that assess the idea of computer games as a learning tool and how “SimCity 2000” and "SimCity Creator" specifically has been used as a method of teaching. I will show how these two versions have been used differently as a learning tool. I will find out whether or not the method of learning promoted through the use of “Sim City” as a series could be considered for use in the classroom for the future. Through analysing these sources I will also recommend improvements that could be made to the method by which computer games as used as a learning tool for the classroom.

2. Literature review
2.1. Educational games
Computer Games can be seen as a new way of teaching children in an engaging way because games are seen as a motivational tool, but why is this? It is potentially because of the interactive and responsive nature of games that also makes the user part of the outcome rather than being a passive spectator. Computer Games successfully aid the learning process of the players as people learn by enjoying themselves; this promotes the idea that educational games can still be fun to play. The most successful games are complex and difficult, because the gamer can expand their learning potential through adapting to the new rules of the game they are playing. On the other hand some gamers, specifically beginners, are put off games that are difficult to play. However game designers need to design their games in such a way that the game excises their 'learning muscles' by using their brain to gain skills and win the game (Gee, 2007, p28-30). While gamers are playing a game they are learning almost constantly on a subconscious level, this is one of the best methods of learning. Games allow their users to experience new things that couldn’t happen in real life; which allows people to think differently or unconventionally about the situations they face in-game. Thereby becoming smarter and improving their abilities at problem solving and innovative thinking (Olson, 2010, p3). Using games as a learning tool in schools would be a good way to teach but children who need more support would struggle. Gee quotes that "We can make school and workplace learning better if we pay attention to good computer and video games". Motivation is one of the key factor of learning and if a student is not motivated they will not learn as well as they could achieve. By making learning enjoyable for example using games students can be more encouraged to learn. (Blythe-Lord, 1991, p3-12). The structure and nature of learning would have to be developed before games are implemented into schools (Gee, 2007, p28-30).

“SimCity” stands for ‘Simulation City’. It is...

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