STEM Education and Video Games

Can a student’s interest in video games spur an interest in STEM disciplines?  According to a report released by the National Endowment for Science, Arts and Technology in the United Kingdom, the answer is most assuredly yes.   The paper argues that interest in STEM disciplines could increase if students viewed them as leading to creative careers like video game programming rather than technical ones alone.

Ed Vaizey, the UK culture minister, remarked “I’m thrilled this report has emerged, it highlights the importance of video games and special effects to our economy.”  Vaizey added, “[t]his is actually a report for the whole tech sector, it’s about equipping our children with up to date skills… We need to make sure there’s the option to do computer programming in schools. It’s a vital skill for the 21st century.”

The idea that STEM interest can be increased through less traditional educational means is not a new one.  Inspired by President Obama’s Educate to Innovate initiative, educators in America have launched the National STEM Video Game Challenge.  The competition rewards those who create video games that motivate learning.  Examples include “Mission Earth,” where players learn the scientific method, and “Space Cadet,” which teaches kindergarteners about basic math concepts such as length and height by launching rockets.

Posted by: Jason Schall

Sources: gamesindustry.biz, NESTA, stemchallenge.org, whitehouse.gov

Photo credit: Playing Pokemon video games courtesy of flickr user San Jose Library

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2 Responses to STEM Education and Video Games

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  2. Pingback: STEM Education in Popular Culture « America and the Global Economy

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