Fair warning, you could easily eat up a big chunk of your day following the links in this post. Buy hey, you’ll be helping out the world a bit in the process. (I’m also in the process of giving this post a badly needed update. If you know of great learning games for change you feel should be added, use the contact form to let me know.)
Is your community ready for an extreme event like an earthquake, flood, or hurricane? Find out with this role-playing game for community groups and schools! Players learn how important it is to build coalitions across all sectors of a community and invest in short-term and long-term resources to make their city more resilient.
“What is it like to live in poverty, struggling every day to stay healthy, keep out of debt, and get educated? Find out now in this challenging role playing game created by the High School students in Global Kids with the game developers at Gamelab, in which you take responsibility for a family of five in rural Haiti.” From UNICEF with Microsoft support.
“3rd World Farmer … aims at simulating the real-world mechanisms that cause and sustain poverty in 3rd World countries. In the game, the player gets to manage an African farm, and is soon confronted with the often difficult choices that poverty and conflict necessitate. We find this kind of experience efficient at making the issues relevant to people, because players tend to invests their hopes in a game character whose fate depends on him. We aim at making the player “experience” the injustices, rather than being told about them, so as to stimulate a deeper and more personal reflection on the topics.”
“Get a goat to help you grow more food! They eat weeds, their milk is magic and plants love their poo…” (Note: You have to allow pop-ups and enable Flash for this one.) Just one of a number of games featuring Christian Aid’s Global Gang http://www.globalgang.org/funandgames/games/Default.aspx
“Now’s your chance to role play your favorite(or not so) House of Representative and help them become more popular! Based on real voting data, My US Rep allows you to discover your Rep’s hopes and dreams within an engaging game experience. Help your Rep become the most popular, look for bills to vote on, interact with in-game characters, collect cash and buy media time.”
The Blood Typing Game
What happens if you get a blood transfusion with the wrong blood type? Even though a patient’s own blood type is the first choice for blood transfusions, it’s not always available at the blood bank. Try to save some patients’ lives and learn about human blood types! This is just one of many games available on the Nobel Prize site. The Blood Typing Game ranks #1 (as of the time I am writing this post), bu here are some of the other most popular ones:
2. The DNA – the Double Helix Game
3. The Immune System Game
4. The Control of the Cell Cycle Game
5. The Pavlov’s Dog Game
6. The Electrocardiogram Game
7. The Transistor
8. The Diabetic Dog Game
9. The Split Brain Experiments Game
10. The Lord of the Flies Game
“The on-line game aims at teaching children how to build safer villages and cities against disasters. Children will learn playing how the location and the construction materials of houses can make a difference when disasters strike and how early warning systems, evacuation plans and education can save lives.” From the United Nation/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Multiple languages. Good teacher resources (Requires Flash.)
“The Food Detectives Fight BAC!® game gives kids a fun way to learn about foodborne illness. More and more, foodborne illness is making news headlines. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne illnesses in the United States affect millions of people and cause thousands of deaths every year. The CDC says 300,000 people are hospitalized every year.” From New Mexico State University.
“There has been a mysterious outbreak of unhealthy habits hitting too many boys and girls. If we don’t solve these cases, and fast, kids might not make the right food and exercise choices as they grow, and that could be trouble! All junior food detectives will get secret training on how to eat right and exercise. You can investigate fun games like Whack A Snack, Soccer, and Zap the TV. Plus you can print out classified clues on ways to be healthy, then share them with your parents, teachers, and pals.” From Kaiser Permanente. Good teacher resources.
McDonald’s Video Game
“Making money in a corporation like McDonald’s is not simple at all! Behind every sandwich there is a complex process you must learn to manage: from the creation of pastures to the slaughter, from the restaurant management to the branding. You’ll discover all the dirty secrets that made us one of the biggest compan[ies] of the world.” Multiple languages. Offline version available. From La Molle Industria. http://www.molleindustria.org/
“Learn about wolf ecology by living the life of a wild wolf in Yellowstone National Park. Play alone or with friends in on-line multiplayer missions, explore the wilderness, hunt elk, and encounter stranger wolves in your quest to find a mate. Ultimately, your success will depend on forming a family pack, raising pups, and ensuring the survival of your pack.” From the Minnestota Zoo and eduweb under a grant from the National Science Foundation.
“Harpooned is a free game for Windows. It is a Cetacean Research Simulator, where you play the role of a Japanese scientist performing research on whales around Antarctica.” See also the YouTube trailer for Harpooned. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR4KN6EfX6M
The result, a game called Re-Mission (featuring Roxxi, the intrepid nanobot), is a challenging, 3D “shooter” with 20 levels that takes the player on a journey through the body of young patients with different kinds of cancer. Created by leading video game developers and animators in collaboration with scientific and medical consultants and HopeLab staff, this state-of-the-art game is designed to be cool and fun, while helping players to increase their personal knowledge about cancer and improve their confidence in their ability to manage their cancer. Watch the trailer.
That’s it for now. Please comment and share your favorite learning games!
Mission to Learn
I am an avid lifelong learner who writes and speaks frequently on the critical role of learning in our fast-changing world.