Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where are all the great educational video games?

I just read this headline and could not believe my eyes: "‘Halo: Reach’ sales hit $200-million on 1st day." Could this be real? The amount of money spent on this newest Halo game is staggering. And $200 million on day one? Staggering.

This got me thinking. Why the big sales? Easily, one can state that the fun need is being met. However, people are also meeting their need for freedom, success and belonging. Freedom? Freedom from their regular routine and freedom to choose to play. Success? Being good at the game. Belonging? Playing with friends, thus being a part of a group.

Indeed, video games can meet needs of people but I have one question- Where are all the great educational video games? If a lot students have an amazing capacity to play video games, why are great educational video games not being produced? It could be an amazing way to engage students in a meaningful way.


  1. I suggest googling Marc Prensky's website. He is directly involved in educational games.

  2. I see you're a math & science teacher, but your colleagues might be interested in It has a bunch of great games about government and the Constitution. I recommend Do I Have A Right or Executive Command...

  3. Thanks for sharing. I will pass it on to my colleagues.

  4. I completely agree that there is a huge market for educational video games. There are all sorts of commercial off the shelf titles that can easily be adapted to curriculum. This has been a big area of interest for me both from a research perspective and in my classroom. I've used both the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii (and I've seen great things with the X box and PS III - not to be bias towards one company, it's just want worked for me in a primary environment).
    Endless Ocean (great for the Arctic!
    Scribblenauts for Problem Solving in Math
    Professor Layton and the Curious Village (a completely novel study - with more words than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    Try Phoenix Wright or Hotel Dusk Room 215 for older students
    Just Dance for physical activity fun
    SimCity (on the PC) for local government and civics
    My Word Coach - for vocabulary building
    Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics for the Olympics, and great math decimal work
    And research behind using games in the classroom:

  5. Jen, Wow!!Thank you so much for such an extensive list of video games. This will help in my teaching. Thanks for taking the time to read and write. Cheers.

  6. Your quote, "The biggest obstacle to school change is our memories." Allen Glenn" at the top:

    I don't know who Allen is, but I couldn't agree more with the statement. Those of us who teach were often successful learners in the traditional school environment, and it is often so ingrained in us that change is difficult.

    Personally, I embrace it, as I was bored to death "the way it used to be" before technology and newer practices in language arts in particular. But sadly, so many teachers aren't ready...yet. We can hope!

    I can relate to your initial bombardment of ideas on the young man--it's hard to resist pouring it out when there is so much to suggest and try and do!

    Best of luck, new teachers.

  7. Childwillread,

    Thanks for your comments. We are on the same wave length. Our memories try and hold us back but we must break from the shackles, as difficult as it may seem.

  8. Hmm. Interesting. I've thought about that too. It's a hard sell, though. The freedom you talk about, for many kids, is a freedom from learning and school. Video games are a way to tune out and escape. As soon as it starts smelling "educational" many kids turn away.

    Thanks for sharing!

    - @newfirewithin