Studies have shown that gaming could be an effective tool in education. McGraw-Hill Education is betting on it, launching its McGraw-Hill Practice suite that includes Government in Action.
The 3-D multiplayer game is an American government course designed for college freshman which takes the player through the intricacies of being a U.S. representative and explains the difficulties in getting legislation passed.
“The ability to interact rather than just reading a text in this technology-driven age will probably drive more interest,” Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) told CNN about the game. “Video games with a core educational component may supplement traditional materials, such as textbooks, and may enable students to improve their understanding of certain subjects.”
The goal of the game is for each player, who begins with their election to the House of Representatives, to build enough political awareness and capital during their two-year term to be re-elected. The game assigns students a political affiliation and allows them to meet with the president and go to the Supreme Court.
The game was tested at colleges and universities across the United States where instructors found students enjoyed the game enough to play it often. The iPad version was introduced at the 2013 South by Southwest education conference, with an Android version in the works.
“Educators seem to have more tools available to them than ever before and there’s no doubt that, when appropriately utilized, technology has the capacity to enhance the classroom experience,” Tierney said. “The key, of course, is to familiarize and excite teachers to maximize its use in the most positive way.”