Kids home on holiday doesn’t have to be stressful… Use video games to have fun and learn!

Kids home on holiday doesn’t have to be stressful… Use video games to have fun and learn!
November 18, 2019 admin

My wife is amazing!  She is a successful businesswoman and mother who wants nothing more than for her children to be smart, hard-working and feel loved.  It should then come as no surprise, that when our children are off of school (as they will be over the upcoming long Thanksgiving weekend) she is continually trying to find ways to keep them occupied and engaged in something meaningful.

When our children were in elementary school, we lived just outside of Zürich.  Instruction in the local Swiss school was in German, and the curriculum was far different from what their peers in America were learning.  To keep pace with what was being taught in America, we used Educational Games, and home-school lesson plans and workbooks during our children’s ‘off-time’.  Yet the thing that we quickly learned about typical Educational Games was that, although useful, our children would quickly lose interest in single-subject learning games.  The games, although more engaging than videos or workbooks, struggled to create a rich, immersive learning environment.

After returning to America, we continued to use Educational Games as a means of providing meaningful structure to fill time after school and over extended holidays.  Although, it became increasingly difficult to have our children comply, as the learning platforms simply could not compete with the allure of video games.  I was relieved to learn that we were not alone.

Over the past year, I have been conducting research for the National Science Foundation (NSF) on creating virtual learning environments embedded within video games.  We’ve talked with hundreds of parents who struggled with the same experience, nearly all of whom agreed that the social aspect (community) of gaming was one of the strongest attractions.

Our research also confirmed that there are also psychological aspects of gaming that are inherently appealing.  In his book, Gamification & Behavioral Design, Yu-kai Chou describes how video games use Intrinsic values like Accomplishment, Ownership, Scarcity and Meaning along with extrinsic values like Empowerment, Social Influence, Unpredictability and Avoidance to create interest and attract players

These findings led us to develop the video game, City of Mine, a virtual learning environment that unifies people, education and industry; allowing younger generations to learn, advance and earn as they prepare for the work of the future.

In the video game, players can go on quests to become a business tycoon, real estate mogul or politician, along the way learning important subjects like:

  • Personal financial management
  • Business finance
  • STEM skills related to Construction
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Structural and Civil Engineering

Best of all, players can learn and take risks in a fun and safe environment where the community works together to accomplish tasks to build their dream city.

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