Growing up, I was big into computer games. I loved them. They kept me entertained for hours. The other day, I was reading about some of the most popular games of all time, and realized that most of these game actually are educational! These games teach real skills, such as budgeting, working for goals, planning, strategizing, etc. By being even okay at these games, you can leverage these skills for success in life.
Just take a look at these top games:
2. World of Warcraft
4. Sim City
5. Roller Coaster Tycoon
Teaching Essential Skills
Just looking at this list, you can see some of the skills needed:
Budgeting: The Sims is a great example of how to create and use a budget. You have to work to earn income to buy the stuff you want for your house. You also need to get your Sim up and get him to work, or else you can get fired. You also have to maintain things around the house, feed your Sim, and other things; many of which require money! By being good at this game, you can really gain some personal finance skills.
Planning: All of these games require planning to some extent, but both World of WarCraft and StarCraft really rely on it. You need to identify and utilize resources effectively, plan where to build buildings, and basically everything you need to be successful in battle. It requires thought and planning to succeed!
Strategizing: Strategizing is also essential to be successful in all of these games. From what to build, to what resources are needed, to what to spend on, to even designing battle plans for your soldiers. All of these games have a huge element of strategy involved, and playing them can really develop strong strategy skills.
Business Management: Along with all of the skills above, Roller Coaster Tycoon also has a huge element of business management involved. From budgeting, to ticket prices, to keeping your visitors happy, you have to consider a lot when building your theme parks. As a result, it gives you a great overview of running a business. Sim City is also very similar in this regard – city management is like business management.
I think we need to allow children to play more of these games to get the skills they need to be successful in life. You will notice that no first-person shooter games is on the list. Although both World of WarCraft and StarCraft are battle-esque games, they don't involve any shooting – it is all strategy and battle planning. I think if we focused more on these types of games, and less on shooter games, we would have a much brighter future generation!
Readers, what are your thoughts on video games and education?