Across the pond, almost 90 delegates attended the recent “Game to Learn” conference in Abertay, Scotland’s National Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education. Though I am always defending video games in the context of being art and not just mindless entertainment, the fact that they are also enabled as a learning tool is also great news. The best part? The gaming industry has nothing to do with it!
And I mean that in a good way. This is a conference held by professional educationalists who are trying to spread the word that technology, specifically video games, have a place in the classroom and our kid’s lives. This wasn’t spearheaded by a publisher who wants to look better in the media, this was run by professors with Phds.
We also aren’t talking about silly math computer games either. The example the press release gives is of a new type of simulation, where a person plays their way through a human body that is affected by Cancer, easily played on a Xbox or Wii console.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Pamela Kato, of the University of Utrecht, on the topic “Educating the World, One Cell At a Time”. Dr. Kato is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of health psychology and video games.
She is currently developing a serious game simulation that takes the player on a journey through the body of young patients with different kinds of cancer.
The game was created in collaboration with video game developers and scientific and medical consultants and helps players stick to their prescribed treatments, giving them a sense of power and control over their disease.
If anyone is going to argue against giving a patient with Cancer the ability to have power and control through knowledge via a video game, then they need a wake up call.