Gaming linked to learning authenticity

In the near future, my family and I will be going on a trip to Italy. During our conversations about what we would like to do and see there, my eldest son had a request about our visit to Florence. He began to rattle off names of landmarks and historical figures associated with Florence and the Renaissance and his desire to see these places or relics of these people. My wife and I were intrigued. “Was this stuff you’ve learned about at school” we enquired?

No he replied – he’d  found out about it when he was playing the game “Assassin’s Creed 2”.

He then walked us through the game (the first time we had really paid attention to it – prior to this we  regarded it as no more than just a time consuming obsession for him). Sure enough, the Renaissance version of Florence was laid out  in amazing detail – The Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, The Palazzo Vecchio and the statue of David in the Piazza della Signoria, outside the building known as the Uffizi gallery.

We then more or less planned a  walking tour for our holiday by walking through the game!

This led me to wondering – there must be plenty of games that have real life application to our classrooms. That’s not to say that we play them in class – Assassin’s Creed is very violent and would not be suitable in a school environment.

But surely, if there are games that add authenticity and engagement to the material we deliver, I think for some hard to engage learners they could be a great “buy in” for our lessons.

I’d be interested to hear of game recommendations from you, especially in PE.

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