Videogames to learn history, economics and environment



Current video games not only entertain. Some such as Age of Empires, Caesar and even Sim City have become effective information and training tools, as confirmed by researchers at the University of Huelva (UHU) in an article published in the magazine Computers & Education.

According to the experts of the UHU, videogames have a proven utility for the teaching of Social Sciences. His research project, directed by José María Cuenca López and Miriam Martín Cáceres, had as fundamental axis the analysis of 35 programs with different themes (Politics, Geography and History ...) among more than 400 Primary and Secondary School students from centers of Huelva

Experts believe that new technologies have led to the emergence of dynamic games with different levels of interaction, in which huge amounts of data, information, procedures and values ​​are intimately linked. "We have been able to appreciate not only an improvement in the teaching process, but a better predisposition of the student to access this information", underlines José María Cuenca. Cuenca López and Martín Cáceres divided the essay into several disciplines. To analyze the History, they used the Age of Empires video games and the Empire Earth. For Town Planning and Territory, they did the same with Caesar and Sim City. And the teachings related to Democracy and Citizen Participation, Economy and Business, and Environment were resolved with Sim City, Wall Street Trader and The Settlers, respectively.

Those that had greater acceptance were those of historical content - "by the spectacularity of the images and the dynamism of the development of the game" - and those related to the territory. However, he says, "it would be interesting to narrow the content filters to offer greater rigor over what is published."

"Video games have become laboratories for social experiments, especially because they reproduce scenarios, conditions and situations that affect a specific human phenomenon," he says. In this way, the researcher intends to break a spear in favor of "good use" of this technology, both in classrooms and in homes. "It requires, on the other hand, efforts of the teachers, it is a complementary technique," he says.

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