Latin American apps: games for education?

Here are some of the best educational apps created in Chile, Peru, and México

Latin American apps: games for education?

Education has changed, knowledge and information are not only transmitted by books an lectures anymore. New models of education are integrating technology in their new courses and they are using new media and tools. They have even started to use technologies that were previously considered as class distractors: cellphones and videogames.

The latter are perhaps the most surprising of these new tools since, due to their name, they are alway associated with fun and not with education, nevertheless, three Latin American enterprises have opted to use videogames as a means for education and the passing of knowledge

The first of these enterprises is Grupo Avatar which was created by a interdisciplinary group of students, teachers and former students from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú with the goal of investigating, creating and using videogames and virtual worlds in education. Avatar has created three educational videogames until now, which were well received by the teaching community.

Their first videogame was “Pez Dorado” where the players can conduct archeological expeditions. In them, they learn the processes, the costs and the importance of these expeditions for the cultural development of their country. The second videogame they created was “1814: La Rebelión del Cusco” which was created to celebrate the 200 years of the Independence of Peru. In this game, the users learn the facts that led to this event and its consequences. Lastly, their videogame “Evil Wizard” helps the players learn and practice english

Menawhile in Chile, a group of biotechnicians from the Universidad de Santo Tomás de Chile, noticed that children were bored during biology classes so they decided to create a fun way to teach this subject. This was how Kokori was born, a real time strategy game where the player must help a cell to develop, learning multiple subjects of microbiology along the way. Kokori has been very well received in Chile and when it arrived in Argentina, it was downloaded in 3 million computers.

The most recent country to join this trend is Mexico with a videogame called “Mulaka” created by the developer Lienzo. The videogame is of the adventure genre and the protagonist is a shaman who must prevent the wrath of the gods. This game is based in the tarahumara‘s mythology and the creators want the game to be a mean to connect the people of Mexico with this Elder culture.

Games like these challenge the concept of ebooks as static, digital versions of a traditional print book. Gamification is a tactic app developers have started to resort to more and more, because users, particularly younger ones, wish to be entertained. When gamification is used in apps like the ones mentioned above, the goal is to educate someone without the dread that traditional studying may bring. It is too soon to know about the neurological impact this way of learning may bring, but the popularity of apps like these in schools could show that children really do enjoy using creative tools like these.

 

Latin American Post | Alan Rosas González

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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