Video Games Help Educators Stay Creative

Schools may not be paying attention to all the classic arcade games for sale, but that’s because students are busy creating their own. Educators in North Dakota and Texas are finding new video game-themed ways to teach students various skills, and it’s working.

Houston’s Writers in the Schools

A non-profit organization based in Houston, called Writers in the Schools, is working on encouraging children’s writing skills through video game creation. Elementary and junior high school students write stories, then they create video games based on the narrative. The more creative the story, the more interesting the game.

To make this possible, Writers in the Schools teamed up with Histrionix, a company that creates video games centered around learning. As the participants move through the game design project, the creation of the game mirrors the writing process. First, the students have to come up with an idea, then they create a rough draft, then a final, complete version. The excitement of creating their own video game helps motivate children to invest time and energy in the writing process, so Writers in the Schools counts the program a success.

Grand Forks’ Ecocade

In Grand Forks, North Dakota, educators run an after school program called “Ecocade,” which encourages middle school kids to build arcade game replicas out of recycled materials. From cardboard to plywood to tinfoil, kids gather materials and repurpose them into a new creation, giving them a second life.

The students have the opportunity to show their games to the community during a fundraiser. Visitors pay to play the games found in the “Ecocade,” and all money goes to help those with Parkinson’s disease.

These instances are just two examples of how educators are working to harness students’ interest in gaming to enhance their learning experience. Across the country, gaming is becoming more present in schools and it is having a positive effect. Gaming doesn’t always have to be a sedentary activity – it can involve hands-on, in-depth learning as well, and wise educators are using the positive aspects of video games to encourage education.