Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 6
The Educational Value
of Digital Games:
Possibilities and Limitations of the
Use of Digital Games as Educational
Tools (The Spore Case)
Ana Castro Correia
TECField Sistemas de Informação e Multimédia, Lda, Portugal
Lia Raquel Oliveira
University of Minho, Portugal
ABSTRACT
Games have always been present in the development of the human society, facilitating ways of social
interaction and contributing to the maturation of culture. Today, digital games present themselves as
one of the most common forms of entertainment, especially for children and teenagers, combining the
playful factor with pedagogical advantages, promoting changes in terms of cognitive, behavioral and
psychomotor skills in its users.
The use of digital games in educational contexts encourages active, critical, autonomous and partici-
pated learning processes, overcoming some of the limitations presented in more 'conventional' methods,
engaging players in non-passive forms of acquiring knowledge and skills. Aiming to demonstrate how
digital games make the learning process possible by allowing the development of critical thinking,
outlined during the act of playing, we will proceed to a critical analysis of Spore, a game created by
Electronic Arts in 2008, demonstrating how the player places himself in an active learning situation
which is self controlled and self regulated, facilitating the comprehension of phenomena that are not a
part of formal teaching.
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