MIT’s Education Arcade is working to create effective educational games. Many educational games are what the directors of the project call “shooting flashcards”: simple drilling exercises hidden within flashy graphics. The educational aspect—quickly completing subtraction problems, for example—is presented separately from the “fun” part of the game. If players can get through the math, they are allowed to play the rest of the level.
Those working in the Education Arcade envision games in which the subject is embedded within the gameplay. For example, one of their games requires players to create supports to hold up a crumbling building. The educational elements of the game, which include ideas of geometry and engineering, are central to the gameplay rather than tacked-on barriers to it.
For more advice on how to navigate this quickly growing territory, check out our guide to finding the best educational games and apps.