Video games in schools have been debated among students, parents, and teachers for decades. But what hasn’t been talked about much until recently is the use of video games for educational and therapeutic purposes in public schools, specifically sandbox video games.
The term sandbox is a reference to a physical sandbox, where you can build whatever you want and create whatever you want, as opposed to a video game with a set objective and story
One point for sandbox video games in school is that children in today’s education system need a time to relax, while still keeping their brains stimulated. In these video games players can explore the world they are in and create new worlds around them. Many children, teens, and young adults go home from school to play video games and relax, but often can find little to no creative output in their at home activities. Giving kids the opportunity to relax and play games during school help relieve stress.
The use of games like Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program in school promotes creativity in the classroom, and teach students self direction, collaboration, and problem solving skills. Games such as Plague Inc, where you evolve a disease using information from different countries to your advantage teaches kids about diseases and how every climate is affected by them.
Having students create their own video game teaches them coding and technology information that will be important with the jobs surfacing as they learn.
Some schools have already integrated clubs for these types of video games in after school activities, either for competition and sport or for expression and relaxation. The lessons that these video game clubs teach are similar to the lessons of school’s sports activities; teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and self direction.
And while video games have many positives, the biggest of them all is that these video games were literally designed to be fun and engaging. Implementing these activities into a school would settle very well with the students and teach them all important life skills for the future.