Learning through Games

edited March 2010 in General Discussion
A couple of recent events in my professional life have gotten me thinking about the relationship between games... specifically RPGs and learning.

A while back, while at work, one of my coworkers asked me If I knew how to do some bit of fancy formatting in Excel. I did... and then I realized that the reason I did, was because I first learned how to do it when creating an electronic spellbook for my Wizard character for one of the campaigns I'm currently a part of.

Then, two weeks ago, at a departmental meeting, one of my coworkers announced that we were building a wiki to compile our department's knowledge database! The wiki at work uses Wikitext, rather than Textile, but there are many similarities between the language and the one used on Obsidian Portal, so I have been able to quickly come up with effective formatting for the pages and have started transferring process documents from our old system to the new wiki.

One of my players is a teacher at an alternative ed school here in Seattle and she regularly plays Magic The Gathering with her kids (mostly as a reward, rather than a lesson)... and used to do weekly recaps of our D&D sessions when she taught a slightly older group. She was even thinking about setting up a D&D club for after school, because her kids were so interested in it.

Do any of you have similar experience of gaming contributing to real-world learning? If you game with your kids, has it influenced math, problem-solving or storytelling skills?


  • onsilius
    Posts: 50
    I played on computers before, but I got really into the net and games in college in the early 90's on the university unix system. I spent my whole allotment for housing one semester on a $1500 133MHz pc w/monitor then got a job waiting tables to pay the rent. That was a hot computer back then. I immediately got drunk and tried out every single program and file I could find in dos mode to see what it did until I got to fdisk. After trying out every option it had, I wiped out my partitions and the OS. At that point I was responsible for fixing what was now a $1500 paper weight. The computer, however, didn't even know it had a cd-rom drive to load windows again so I had to get the vendor in PA (bought it at a computer show in NC) to send me a floppy to install the cd-rom so I could boot off the Win95 install disk and eventually restore it to working order. Step 1 complete, I now knew everything about windows (in addition to unix).

    The very next weekend after restoring the PC, my roommate was playing warcraft and, instead of shutting it down properly like I sternly requested, just hit the power button. That was unwise on those old PCs. The power supply blew out and wiped out the harddrive as well. I had to buy a new power supply and drive and install them myself. Step 2 complete, I now knew how to fix hardware. Then step 3, I got even better at windows through installing it a second time in a week.

    Later I became a coder on a MUD and learned to code in C. That little bit of coding knowledge spread to html, vbscript, javascript, etc., and I got a job in IT support. That job led to a little coding and then xml exposure which led to my next (lucrative) job in e-procurement.

    All this because I wanted to play games on my computer.
  • gnunn
    Posts: 423
    That. is. Awesome! It's like the classic story of 85% of history's great scientists and engineers, who got their start destroying devices, pulling them apart and then putting them back together so they could see how they work... Classic!
  • sandman
    Posts: 155 edited March 2010
    Well, I pretty much learned how to edit images (basic stuff, but still), how to edit mp3, and now (thanks to this site) how to build a wiki with basic Textile knowledge (and a little bit of HTML too). All of that thanks to D&D.

    Like Onsilius, I learned how to install/uninstall windows because I wanted to play games on the computer.

    Oh, and I was forgetting this: I learned how to talk for hours (to someone who doesn't know anything about D&D or RPGs in general) in complicated ways just to look smart, without actually saying anything really... hahaha. All that thanks to improvisation skills acquired while playing games :P
    Post edited by sandman on
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