Education and Engagement

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There's a subgroup of educators who firmly believe in the educational power of video games. I've also written about the educational benefits of gaming. So it may well be that games are the future of education.

...but I don't think so. At least, I don't think games should ever become the sole educational platform.


Because it's engagement with material that powers learning, not some mystical element within games.

True, games can be very engaging. They also include built-in training which moves us gradually into the mechanics of game play. That's a very powerful combination. But there are equally engaging forms of education out there. Literature comes to mind. I'm guessing you can share plenty of stories of times when a book pulled you all into the story. We often begged my parents for "one more chapter."

Even "passive" activities--like watching a movie--can be educational if the content grabs you. I know a ton of stuff because of the documentaries my wife encourages me to watch. And while some educational DVD producers don't get it--opting to merely present the facts on video--I've seen how a carefully crafted, engaging video can help students learn math and science.

And that's not all. Hands-on activities, art projects, immersion learning, and, yes, even flashcards can be engaging and therefore powerful ways to educate.

The future of education should be a variety of approaches that engage us that games, literature, hands-on activities, special interest groups, videos, or otherwise. I love how, as homeschoolers, we can take advantage of whichever methods fit our family.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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