This story in The Oregonian talks about how designing, creating, and coding video games is becoming a career path, rather than just a hobby, for this generation of students. The article notes that the number of colleges that teach video game design has increased from 50 to 200 in the past few years and that some high schools and community colleges in Oregon have begun to offer classes in that discipline as well.
Video game design can be applied to other subjects, as well, says the article. And students who might not be motivated to excel in those subjects are often “tricked” into enjoying them through video game design, says one teacher.
They don't even know they're learning things," Fulton says. "They think they're just playing games. It's a trick."
I’ve written quite a bit about how games have the ability to capture the attention and motivation of students who otherwise might tune out during class, and this is a topic that seems to be on the minds of many educators and researchers at this point. But I do worry, however, as one commenter mentioned at the end of the article about how realistic it is for a student to expect to design video games for a living. Although video games constitute a multibillion dollar industry, like other sectors of the entertainment industry, very few people actually have the opportunity to design a successful video game.
Or maybe I’m being too cynical. As one student mentioned in the article, the skills needed to design video games can be applied to many different fields, not just the gaming industry. And I imagine as more research is done on gaming in education, the industry will continue to grow, opening up even more jobs and opportunities for ambitious game design students.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.