Can Games Such as 'SimCity' be Used as a Successful Learning Tool?

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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 gam...

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...evisch, O., 2008: 'Should planners start playing computer games? Arguments from SimCity and Second Life', Planning Theory & Practice, 9:209-226

Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S., Smith, J. H. and Tosca, S. P. 2013. Understanding Video Games. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.

Gaber, J., 2007: 'Simulating Planning SimCity as a Pedagogical Tool', Journal of Planning Education and Research, 27:113-121.

Gee, J. P., 2007: Good video games. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Lacasa, P. Garcia-Pernia, M. Nunez, P., 2013: 'Adolescents Media Experiences in the Classroom: SimCity as a Cultural Model', Journal of Education and Training Studies 2:103-116.

Olson, C. K., 2010: 'Children's motivations for video game play in the context of normal development,' Review of General Psychology, 14:180-187.

Shaffer, D. W., 2006: How computer games help children learn. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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