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Education Arcade (14 May 2004)
The idea of games as teachers has yet to be welcomed by most educators. Some believe that academic content cannot be transmitted through games. Others see games as great problem-solving exercises that have no connection to the real world. Still others believe that games are violent and encourage antisocial behavior, but Jenkins challenges that perception. 'The most successful-selling games are not violent,' he says. Jenkins points to two bestselling series, Civilization and SimCity-which deal with history and city management, respectively-that have an educational bent and are sometimes used in classrooms to teach history and urban planning. But he predicts that the strongest resistance to using games as serious teaching tools will be rooted in the difficulty of testing knowledge gained through them. 'We are geared to measurable test results,' he says. 'Games are better at [developing] a deeper level of understanding of the big picture,' instead of helping students remember specific dates or events.
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