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Using Commercial Video Games for Classroom Learning

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

As an industry-leading educational game developer, our team is well-versed in all aspects of game-based learning. In addition to our growing portfolio of learning games, we’ve previously used our blog to highlight some of our favorite educational games across subjects like math, English language arts (ELA), computer science, and more – shining a spotlight on specific titles and providing insights into why we feel these games are well-suited for classroom use. 

And while learning games are often the most effective way to incorporate game-based learning into the classroom, we would be remiss not to highlight the educational value of some of today’s leading commercial games – titles like Minecraft, Roblox, and even Fortnite, each of which have been harnessed by educators as a way to better engage students in their learning. Curious how teachers around the globe are adapting popular video games in their classrooms? Check out these examples!

Minecraft

Perhaps the most iconic example of a best- selling commercial game that’s been reimagined for classroom use, Minecraft: Education Edition has taken the world of game-based learning by storm, offering educators the opportunity to promote creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving by engaging students in a world they already know and love: Minecraft! Featuring hundreds of lesson plans and activities tailored for a wide variety of subjects, as well as access to a growing community of teachers who are already using the game as a teaching tool, Minecraft EDU’s website is jam packed with helpful tools and resources designed with classrooms in mind. And with Minecraft: Education Edition now available on Chromebooks, there’s never been a better time to jump into the blocky, lovable, and instantly recognizable world of Minecraft.

Fortnite

Epic Games’ Fortnite exploded onto the gaming scene in 2018 thanks to its wildly popular free-to-play battle royale game mode – and in the years since, the game continues to grow in popularity thanks to regular content updates and collaborations with high-profile brands such as Marvel, Star Wars, and real-life DJ Marshmello. But alongside Fortnite’s battle royale game mode sits Fortnite Creative – a decidedly less violent, yet equally engrossing sandbox game mode that’s home to its own dedicated fanbase of players and creators. And among them are educators like Mike Washburn, who has written extensively on their experiences incorporating Fortnite Creative into their curricula. To learn more, be sure to check out Epic Games’ free online course led by Fortnite for education experts Steve Isaacs and Brian Dickman.

Roblox

If you’re not yet familiar with online game platform and game creation system Roblox, you should be – boasting more than 150 million monthly active users, Roblox gives users the tools needed to both program their own games and play games created by others. Accessible across a wide range of platforms including PC/Mac, Xbox, and mobile devices, Roblox has exploded in popularity in recent years, with much of its player base consisting of young children and tweens – making it an ideal platform for engaging with these audiences in educational contexts. And that’s just what Roblox plans to do, according to their dedicated Roblox Education site, which offers a detailed look at how the platform can be harnessed to teach computer science, digital citizenship, entrepreneurship, and other valuable skills. Offering educators free lesson plans and curricula, along with helpful classroom and remote learning setup guides, the Roblox Education team has clearly put a ton of effort into making their platform as appealing to educators as possible – and as a result, is totally worth your attention.

Assassin’s Creed

For more than a decade, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series has immersed players in the stories, environments, and histories of settings such as the Italian Renaissance, Imperial China, and more. And now, thanks to the release of Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour – available in both ancient Greece and Egypt versions – Ubisoft has completely transformed their bestselling commercial games into a living museum, giving players the ability to not only freely explore the game’s painstakingly detailed environments, but also achieve real learning outcomes through participation in audio-guided tours curated by real-life historians. Furthermore, Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour’s classroom efficacy is backed by research from the University of Montreal – an exciting development that bodes well for the future of high-quality, commercial game-based learning experiences.

RoboCo

Rounding out today’s list is our upcoming robotics game RoboCo – a wholesome sandbox game about designing and building robots to serve the needs of squishy, hapless humans in the world of tomorrow! Coming to Steam Early Access in 2021, RoboCo will offer players the tools they need to unleash their problem solving skills and creative potential as they assemble bots piece by piece, rigging each creation with motors, gears, and customizable wireless controls in order to conquer tricky, open-ended engineering challenge courses. RoboCo marks our team’s first foray into the world of commercial gaming – offering a robotics gameplay experience that is equally educational as it is entertaining. We’re excited to share more details about the game as we approach next year’s launch, but in the meantime we invite folks to follow our development progress on our dev blog, join the RoboCo community on Discord, and wishlist the game on Steam!


Feeling inspired? Check out these related articles!
How Educational Video Games Can Help Foster Social and Emotional Learning
How Game-Based Learning Fosters the “4 Cs” of 21st Century Learning
Make, Play, & Discover: A Look at Nintendo Labo

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