I think my kids will begin lobbying for emigration to Sweden.
Whereas most schoolchildren have to sneak in a gaming fix at school on the sly, one Swedish hall of education has made playing Minecraft compulsory. The Viktor Rydberg school in Stockholm introduced the gaming lessons to inspire creative thought. Minecraft, which was developed by the delightfully named Swedish programmer …
Sounds great, I thought it was odd games faded out of the curriculum in the '90s, when I was at school in the '80s they were a vital part of teaching kids to use computers, I still remember the entire class sitting around the Apple II taking votes on what to do next in Oregon Trail.
Minecraft is a wonderful game for children, very easy to learn, with a lot to master, and most importantly it wasn't designed to be an "educational" game. Those "games" tend to be aimed more at the parents then at the actual kids playing it.
It's all fun and games until some kid yells "FORD IT!"
... gaming, similation, modeling are all part of the same spectrum. It's not so much what is used but the learning that takes place - back in the mid 80s we used software on BBC micros to practice and enter a national economics modelling competition sponsored by BP (and won it one year - 7k of HP touchscreen PC and plotter). Working in the early 90s in a friend's dept in Liverpool JMU, I used QSAR simulation software to model pharmaceutical tests. Same basic thing - i.e. modeling - but with a different purpose.
Later, I've seen students learn teamwork and planning using the Day of Defeat mod over Half Life v1 ( pre-Steam so it let us install 5 copies per key) - that came from a group of gamers in Sheffield. Games offer plenty of scope in learning and educational shows like BETT usually have plenty of stands to give ideas to schools. Good teachers will be open to using learning experiences from all over the place.
Minecraft does seem to win over some surprisingly "conventional" converts. Perhaps we've now got a generation in decision-making positions who were brought up on games themselves and know from personal experience that (as MrT says) there's more to games than just playing around.
Or perhaps their personal experience is that there's *less* to urban planning than previously thought. After all, creative types like scientists and engineers have known for generations that the best ideas come from playing with the problem a bit.
oh yes and more so
It's the same in Denmark.
I was totally amazed when my daughters teach posted to the school forum that parents should consider it, because it fosters creative skills. Homework sure has changed.
The analog version is better to my mind.
Looking at what they want to teach
“They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future,”
Wouldn't Dwarf Fortress be better?
City planning - check
environmental issues - Clear-cutting forests will piss off the hippies (elves)
getting things done - Either you get things done or you have a tantrum spiral. (even if you do you mignt)
planning for the future - see getting things done.
All of this in spades. Plus consequences (and failure, oh so much failure) for your decisions. By the time you add Phobes' tileset, it even has graphics!
The scandinavians are, on the whole, a savvy bunch, aren't they?