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From Joystick to Diploma: Great Sites for Online Educational Video Games

posted by Mark on May 18th, 2009

joysticksuitWith recent studies showing that video games might actually make better students, there are increased calls for more practical learning tools like these, and some schools are beginning to turn to games as a source of educational training. As an online student, there are plenty of free educational video games at your fingertips, with material targeted to every age — from preschool to grad school. Here are some sites that aren’t just fun breaks from studying; they can help you bone up on math, science, business, medicine, history, English, law and more. Just think, playing video games might actually score you an A…or at least a B-plus. Nobody’s perfect, despite your high score in Q*bert.

Multi-Game Sites

Academic Skill Builders
Math and language games playable online or on a Wii!

Several math, geography and word games, if you can wade through the advertisements.

A selection of games from Britain in various subjects and age ranges.

Filament Games
Various next-generation learning games on topics ranging from oceanography to physics to law.

Flash Music Games
Learn to play piano, guitar and drums by playing online virtual instruments.

Mostly math and word games, but also some geography, music, history and astronomy.

Over 200 math, science, language, geography, history and arts games on this colorful site.

Links to hundreds of games hosted on other sites, divided into several handy categories and ages.

Harcourt School Publishers
Search for “game” to pull up over 40 basic games on a variety of topics for a range of ages.

Jump Start Virtual World
A large virtual world for ages 3 to 10 with five themed zones filled with games designed to entertain and teach.

The Kidz Page
Dozens of basic math, language and logic games.

Knowledge Probe
A series of enjoyable word, math and history games.

Law Focused Education
A series of court-related games from the State Bar of Texas, covering everything from court functions to jury selection to government branches to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

A range of math-related games.

National Geographic Kids
Colorful, attractive games specializing in history and geography.

PBS Kids
A variety of kid-centric math and logic games.

The Problem Site
Lots of “problems,” games and quizzes dealing with math, language and logic.

Primary Games
A ton of high-quality games teaching math, science, social studies and language arts.

Age-specific games to teach everything from math to stocks to the solar system.

Various games interspersed with other activities, on topics like geography, politics, math, science and grammar.

Sheppard Software
Hundreds of games and quizzes that can challenge both kids and adults, particularly in geography, chemistry and vocabulary.

Surfing the Net With Kids
Lots of great games and puzzles on a wide variety of topics — math, science, geography, history, literature, word games, typing and more — that can prove challenging to adults as well as kids. For instance, do you know all the states and territories in Australia?

Individual Games

Ars Regendi
Learn political and economic strategy by creating your own virtual nation.

The Budget Maze
Learn about the process of constructing and maintaining a government budget by navigating your way through a maze of tough decisions.

Debt Ski
Learn about credit and spending as you navigate a water skiing pig through an economic obstacle course.

Manage a city’s energy needs, learning lessons about the environmental, economic, security and political implications.

Explores the relationships between nutrition and factors like budgets, the physical world, subsidies and regulations.

Fistful of Dollars
Teaches the dynamics and challenges of managing working capital, accounts receivable, inventory and accounts payable in a space-themed environment.

Food Force
Play as a United Nations food aid worker delivering food to an area in crisis, dealing with budgetary, economic, political and diplomatic affairs.

Global Warming Initiative
Explores the relationship of global warming to economic, political and science policy decisions.

The History Game Canada
Learn about the history of Canada by role playing as either European settlers or aboriginal people in the 16th century.

Immune Attack
Players navigate through a 3-D environment of blood vessels and connective tissue to save an ailing patient. Along the way, they learn about the biological processes that enable white blood cells to detect and fight infections.

The Lemonade Game
Learn about running a business by starting out small: with a lemonade stand.

Made Off
Learn about the dark side of investing by competing to bilk people out of their money in a Ponzi scheme.

McDonald’s Video Game
Learn about the business of food services from the ground up, from farming to meat production to restaurant management to corporate advertising.

This classic game from the ’80s teaches supply and demand economics as players struggle to thrive as colonists on an alien planet.

Oregon Trail
Role play as a 19th century American settler heading west in this vintage ’80s video game.

Quest Atlantis
A 3-D virtual environment designed for ages 9 to 15 to teach students about science, social studies, the environment and current events.

The ReDistricting Game
Designed to educate, engage and empower citizens around the issue of political redistricting, allowing players to see the effects and potential abuses of the process.

Takes the player on a journey through the body of young patients with different kinds of cancer to teach about the medical details of the disease.

An American Revolution-themed role-playing game based on historical events in the town of colonial Williamsburg on the eve of a violent revolt in the colony of Virginia, players can see life through the eyes of various individuals, from a lawyer to a blacksmith to a slave.

Robo Rush
Leads aspiring entrepreneurs through starting a business from the ground up, from sales to operations to negotiations to construction.

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