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How mainstream video games are being used as teaching tools

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Advocates say that good video games can be used as teaching tools to help students develop an array of skills—from writing and physics to teamwork and problem solving.

People who worried that the technology boom would lead to kids playing video games in class were right: In schools around the country, students are playing such games as “Minecraft,” “World of Warcraft,” and “Angry Birds”—and their teachers are encouraging it.

“Video games are not the great evil that people make them out to be,” says Trish Cloud, technology instructor at Torrence Creek Elementary School in Huntersville, N.C., where she created a popular “Minecraft” club.

Cloud is part of a community of educators who love gaming and want to share that passion to help students learn by introducing video games in class. Those educators say that good video games can be used as teaching tools to help students develop an array of skills—from writing and physics to teamwork and problem solving.

Lucas Gillispie, a former biology teacher in coastal Pender County, N.C., is a leader in this national movement. He helped to create a language-arts curriculum tied to “World of Warcraft,” and he launched a grant program for local teachers to incorporate “Minecraft” into their classes.

He notes that the fast-paced, globally connected world of digital learning lets educators create new career paths and emerge as leaders, no matter where they work or what their job titles are. And that is exactly the kind of versatility teachers are trying to spark in their students.

(Next page: Learning through ‘World of Warcraft’)

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