Can video games help teach civics? Baylor research says yes.
When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor came to Baylor almost two year ago, part of her visit was to see the work Baylor students were doing with iCivics, an online curriculum founded by O’Connor that uses games to introduce students to civic principles and ideas.
At the time, Baylor law students had developed a model that was using iCivics in local classrooms, while Baylor education students were analyzing the program’s effectiveness. [Read more on their combined approach here.] The results of that study are now in, and as it turns out, video games really can help students learn.
The study, led by Drs. Brooke Blevins and Karon LeCompte, both professors in Baylor’s School of Education, found that iCivics can be an effective tool for teaching civics to primary and middle school students. Their results were published in a recent issue of The Journal of Social Studies Research.
Statistics, student journals and teacher interviews all reported that students’ knowledge and interest in the subject improved after playing the games twice a week for six weeks. As their report concludes, “iCivics provides the opportunity for teachers and students alike to move beyond traditional, didactic models of civic education and towards a vision of civics education that is engaging and inclusive.”
Sic ’em, Baylor researchers!