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More and More, Schools Got Game

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Teachers are increasingly incorporating video games, virtual reality, and simulations to improve education. Business and science classes are starting to use sophisticated software that allows students to test out potential careers, practice skills, or explore history through simulated adventures in national parks, ancient cities, or outer space. The military and medical schools, which use games and simulations to train new personnel, are helping to boost the use of video games in classrooms. Advocates argue that games can teach vital skills such as teamwork, decision-making, and digital literacy. Games also can challenge students just enough to keep them interested in reaching the next level. "There is a revolution in the understanding of the educational community that video games have a lot of what we need," says Jan Plass, co-director of the Games for Learning Institute at New York University.

Game designers are replacing the violence in video games with equations and educational challenges. For example, Dimension M is a suite of math games that require players to learn about functions and solve equations to stop a biodigital virus from taking over the world. The Federation of American Scientists is promoting games as a way of inspiring new scientists, and has developed two games in which players fight bacterial invaders in a blood vessel.

A recent revision to the Higher Education Act authorized the creation of a research center for assessing and developing educational technologies such as simulations and video games.

From The Washington Post

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