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It’s always interesting to read what media pundits think of our industry from an outsider perspective, as their understanding about Serious Games, their purposes and value help us to develop more targeted communications about the TRUE purposes and value of Serious Games. We’re then able to help the wider world “get it” about the great educational and training possibilities inherent in fun and interactive gaming programs for people of all ages.
A recent article from the BBC actually hits the nail on the head pretty well in terms of a big picture narrative about how Serious Games can be used and the diversity of subject matter they can address, citing such disparate topics as the ongoing Middle East conflict, the end of the Petroleum Age, and sexual coercion among teenagers. Talk about putting the SERIOUS in Serious Games, right?
Addressing one of the biggest strong points of Serious Games – their ability to engage young people in contemplation and learning on subject matter in a way that holds their attention effectively and experientially – the BBC article cites a sex education program being tried in some schools in England.
“’One of the things that's very striking when you spend time in a classroom of teenagers is just how easy it is for them to get bored or distracted,’ says Dr. Katherine Brown, leader of the Sash Research Group at Coventry University. ‘The more innovative you can be with what techniques you use, the more likely you are to be successful in delivering the education you are trying to get across. Having that technology does instantly engage the young people in the classroom. It's completely novel to them that their teacher would use this kind of technology to deliver a lesson on sex education.’”
Considering the rather alarming rate at which American youth are diminishing as champions in academic achievement compared to youth in several other countries globally, the use of Serious Games may be an effective tool to get bored and disenfranchised teens and young adults back on-track interest-wise. We certainly hope that this is the case – that’s one of the reasons Designing Digitally, Inc. is here!