Kurt Squire first recognized the learning potential of games in 1987 in his history class in high school.
When his teacher asked the students if they knew the differences between English and Spanish colonization strategies in the Caribbean, he was the only one who knew the answer (the Spanish sailed galleons and held forts across the Caribbean for transporting gold, while the English sought to establish permanent settlements). But Squire hadn’t been reading ahead in the textbook: He had inadvertently learned the history of Caribbean colonization from spending countless hours playing a video game called Sid Meier’s Pirates! on his Commodore 64 computer.
Today Squire is a professor of digital media in curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and director of the Games+Learning+Society Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. His research interest, sparked in that classic single-player video game released all the way back in 1987, focuses on the design of games for learning and their impact.
To understand the connections between games and learning, identify what kinds of learning are best stimulated by games, and be aware of the potential pitfalls of using games in the classroom, read this innovative article. (image via Shutterstock)