A few years ago the world of education began to open itself up to the pedagogical possibilities of videogames as an educational resource for teachers. One of the most popular examples is the collaborative construction game MinecraftEDU, which is already being used in schools and colleges.

Before this version — which is directed towards the entire educational sector — previous versions of Minecraft were limited to teaching subjects like computer science, physics or mathematics. Currently, MinecraftEDU has a plug-in that allows teachers to customize the software according to their curriculum.

In this game, teachers have control of the map from the start, and have the possibility of incorporating content and adding new tasks for students as the game develops. Some teachers use it to create visual representations of novels and short stories, or to prepare geography lessons.

SimCityEDU is another interesting example, as the academic version of the game SimCity. It’s totally free, and comes with six different missions — mainly relating to environmental questions and energy management — in which students can play different roles and develop their problem solving and communication skills.

MinecraftEDU and SimCityEDU are two games that help introduce the concept of “serious games” — games that allow students to enhance their problem solving skills, work collaboratively and get immediate feedback.

Besides adapting classic video games to the educational environment, there are numerous initiatives with a completely different starting point, whose approach is to create totally new apps and services tailored to the needs of students.

More and more groups are recognizing the profound impact that videogames can have on education and, as we have seen, governments also seem to be waking up to the possibilities videogames can offer. The United States has taken the first step, and many other countries will undoubtedly walk in the same direction.

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