The act of having fun raises levels of dopamine, endorphins, and oxygen in a person’s body: all essential ingredients for learning.
For educational games to be successful, their creators have to be meticulous about striking a careful balance between education and entertainment. Best Universities compiled a list of how different types of digital games meant for teaching students have evolved over time, ranging from DOS games like Oregon Trail to the latest version of the Scratch programming app for kids.
Twenty years ago, children took computer science classes in school with specific units for programming, typing, and other concepts. Today, students learn these same concepts from playing Minecraft, making their own servers for games, creating and installing “mods” that change the gameplay experience, and learning old-school HTML to create ’90s flashback looks on their itch.io pages.
But with any discussion of video games comes the debate around screen time, which has long been a point of contention between parents and children. While educational games served as a compromise, the pandemic pushed most parents to grant screen time for online learning. And without a physical classroom, many educators seized the opportunity to use video games in unconventional ways to teach history, science, and coding during the height of pandemic-induced distance learning.
The world of educational video games is a rich industry with decades of history. These games directly tie with analog educational technologies like creative worksheets, classroom role-playing projects, and even educational vinyl albums from previous decades. Developers are constantly iterating to make the latest technology more educational.