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#156 Video Games: A New Frontier in Education (Part 1)

LEGO Minecraft (1) Andrew Becraft via Compfight

While we are on the subject of video games and while I am on vacation for the next three weeks I thought I would share some reviews of the ways in which video games are becoming very viable educational tools. (When I come back after three weeks with my 10 grandchildren under the age of 10 I will have much to say about imaginative play!!! That is, if I am still functioning at all!!!)
So we will look at three games each week—what they can offer and how parents can balance their effectiveness with family interaction, outdoor fun, piano practice and the like. The reviews are from Eric Schulzke, Deseret News, June14, 2015. P. 6. I’ll start with my favorite: “Walden, A Game.” It is built by the USC school of Cinematic Arts and allows players to become the author Henry David Thoreau on his sojourn at Walden Pond. It is based on the classic “Walden” and allows players to share that experience by enjoying the wilderness throughout four seasons on the pond. Schulzke, quoting from Greg Toppo’s book “The Game Believes in You”, states that while a video game cannot replicate the experience of living outdoors in the wild, neither can the book “Walden.” It can however provide a starting point for the study of Henry David Thoreau or for the experience of being in nature and living in a simpler manner as did Thoreau.
SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge uses the Sim platform to request that students work together to address economic needs as they affect environmental concerns and safety in a developing city. It encourages collaborative effort and potentially provides motivation to work together across human and virtual worlds. It focuses young people on the environmental problems that they will increasingly be facing.
MinecraftEDU is a version of the original Minecraft developed by TeacherGaming, A Finnish Company. The EDU version allows teachers to set up prebuilt worlds that fit a variety of teaching objectives. It has been used throughout the world in more than 40 countries to teach everything from art to STEM.
The key to the success of all of these games as educational tools is that they provide a fun and interesting learning environment and that they interface with other people—teachers and students alike–in collaborative ways.

#156 Video Games: A New Frontier in Education (Part 1)

Ellen Toronto, Ph.D.

Dr. Ellen Toronto is a licensed clinical psychologist/psychoanalyst in the state of Michigan.

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APA Reference
Toronto, E. (2015). #156 Video Games: A New Frontier in Education (Part 1). Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Jun 2015
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