Video games tend to get a bad rap. They are often blamed for short-attention spans, obesity, and violent behavior, but some educators and practitioners are recognizing how they can be used to educate students. With programs like Scratch and initiatives like the Games for Learning Institute, games are being introduced into academic settings as valuable tools to teach skills like problem solving, critical thinking, risk taking, and invention.
The University of Florida has a new course this fall called, 21st Century Skills in Starcraft (scroll down to the bottom of the page to see course listing). The 8 week class won’t teach students how to master the game, but instead will use the experience of playing Starcraft to teach students a variety of skills critical to succeeding in real world situations.
From the course description:
“This course synthesizes the three threads of 21st Century skill development, gaming, and online education into an innovative and experiential approach that encourages students to identify, learn, and practice crucial skills and apply and relate them to real-world situations. It does not teach about Starcraft, but rather aims to utilize the game and the complex situations that arise within it to present and develop the important skills professionals will undoubtedly need in the 21st Century workplace.”
It is great to see a course like this and another advocate for the importance of video gaming in the 21st Century.