[email protected] has created a list of games that can help generate an interest in learning in kids, covering a range of topics including history, science and community skills.
Games are "a great way to get children engaged in learning while still allowing them to have fun in their classes," according to the article, which says that not every game listed is appropriate for in-class use, but all have the potential to spark an interest in discovering more about its subject.
Civilization III, for instance, is at the top of the list as one of the most instructional non-educational games available, with information about various forms of governments, geography and history of past civilizations, famous leaders and more. Age of Empires III gets similar credit for introducing students to the development of the modern world and teaching them to strategize the development and expansion of their society.
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 is cited for its value in learning about science, with physics-based demands in track design required to keep the coasters moving and on the track, while Return of the Incredible Machine Contraptions is "a great learning tool" because it involves the application of various principles of physics in complex problem solving and technical design.
Even MMOGs are represented the list, with Dark Age of Camelot described as giving students the opportunity to "see how mythology fits into the history of the British Isles, learn how legends evolve and grow over time, and get a sense of the warfare that took place during turbulent times in England." Younger students are warned away from the game, however, due to its violent content.
Other popular games that made the list include Dance Dance Revolution, Age of Mythology, The Sims 2 and the forthcoming Spore, which the report says "has the potential to be an incredibly powerful tool in the classroom for teaching students about evolution and the behavior of organisms." Games which surprisingly didn't make the list include Painkiller (religious studies), Grand Theft Auto (driver's education) and Quake III: Arena (what to do if you're sucked through an extra-dimensional portal and forced to engage in eternal combat for the amusement of an unseen and all-powerful entity).
The full list of "25 Best Sims and Games For The Classroom" is available here.