Learning through gaming - educational software

learn_pcEDUCATIONAL games are a great way for your child to learn and retain information. Here we present a short list of educational software that you could check out this holiday season. Most of these games have a long history of success from the 1980s; their earlier incarnations may well rekindle fond memories in parents who grew up with computer gaming.

Educational value: Shows that games without a clear way to win can still be fun, educational, and time consuming.

Description: A multiple award-winner, this simulation game spearheaded a wide variety of complex computer social simulations featuring variable manipulations for education, business, and entertainment. In 2000, The Sims was released becoming the most popular PC game in 2002. Now it competes with the other games available on Xbox, Nintendo, PSP, etc; it remains a solid simulation game. Its latest version The Sims 3 is due for release in January 2009.

Educational value: Cutting edge gaming experience which educates players about basic concepts in nanoscience through real world practical applications from microelectronics to drug delivery.

Description: Whilst most young people are familiar with nanotechnology as a fantastic futuristic technology involving miniature robots, very few have a realistic understanding of nanotechnology, realise its impact on the world around them, or are genuinely stimulated about its possibilities. Partly to address declining numbers of physics, chemistry and engineering students, the game seeks to inspire youngsters about the world of nanotechnology, potentially opening their eyes to choosing it as a career. Aimed at the gaming generations, NanoMission is an engaging learning experience which educates players about basic concepts in nanoscience through real world practical applications from microelectronics to drug delivery.

  • Math Blaster

Get a 2-hour free trial at DemoNews.com
Check out also Nintendo DS for latest version release this month (November 2008).

Educational value: Transforms basic math worksheets into fun learning in a videogaming environment.

Description: The latest Math Blaster in the Prime Adventure combines adventure gaming with mathematical puzzles that have you fighting off an army of robots ie robots with math skills! The game will put your addition, subtraction and multiplication skills to the test and includes four player battle mode and challenge and adventure modes.

Also, downloadable from PC Gaming.

Educational value: Makes basic skill and drill for math fun.

Description: Originally a DOS game in the late 80s (a bit like PacMan), players rush to find correct numbers to the problem onscreen before getting "eaten" by troggles, a process which forces quick mental calculations. Parents who used to play this when it first appeared would be delighted to know it continues to interest new video gamers.

  • Reader Rabbit

Trial download available from Riverdeep.

Educational value: Introduces language arts via computer games in early childhood.

Description: First released in 1989 by The Learning Company, it then featured word games designed to introduce letters and sounds to children. Titles nowadays are much advanced in complexity. The JumpStart series titles offer adventures for various age groups ranging from toddlers to late tweens (age 12).

Educational value: Teaching typing through play.

Description: The multimedia-rich Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 17 Deluxe can turn even the most recalcitrant hunt-and-peck artist into a skillful touch typist. The unusual interface depicts a classroom; you click on various objects to select tasks (for instance, a computer to enter the Lesson Area). Mavis Beacon provides not only lessons and drills, but also videos and text advice on proper typing posture. It also allows you to build custom lessons and play special typing games.


Sites with great online games that are free