Civilization EDU to teach high school history

Posted on June 26, 2016

In 2017 high school students in the United States will be able to play and learn Civ-style with a new titled called Civilization EDU.

For those of who have played the Civilization series of games, you already know how the games challenges the mind, develops strategic thinking and teaches a thing or two about history and various cultures through human recorded history with their most famous  monuments, military and social “advances”.  Also you get to experience the peace loving Indian leader Gandhi start a nuclear war.

While we eagerly await the release of Civilization VI (check out its cool features here), Firaxi and 2K have partnered with the not for profit educational software developer GlassLab to develop this Civilization V adaptation that Sid Meier himself announced at the recent Games for Change festival.

Bringing across the fun gameplay of Civ V,Civilization EDU will give students a more interactive version of history to explore, where they can change history and evaluate causation and the geographical ramifications of their political, foreign relations, military, socioeconomic and technological decisions.  Teachers will have access to instructional videos, lesson plans and tutorials.  A part of me really wants the tutorials to be carried out by the Civ leaders, with diplomacy taught by Shaka and the development of fine arts and performance based culture by Harald Bluetooth.

Shaka will make you learn! Oh how I love the Zulus
Shaka will make you learn! Oh how I love the Zulus in Civ V

Civilization EDU joins a growing list of software titles being adapted for the classroom, such as Minecraft EDU and SimCity EDU.  But just how successful are educational computer games in the classroom?

GlassLab, supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, carried out psychometric assessments on 589 students playing one of their previous titles, Mars Generation One, a text-based futuristic adventure game developed in collaboration with NASA.  The data indicated that 72% of students reported that they felt they learnt something regarding good argument development, and GlassLab claim that students who were engaged with the game for as little as five hours (three hours playing and two hours of associated lessons) were able to learn as much as a year’s worth of curriculum.  A pretty fantastic claim but the research did show that computer games certainly have merit as educational tools.

While the data doesn’t suggest that computer games should replace a classroom environment, it looks as though high school students are about to learn much more about their history with Civilization EDU, and have fun doing so.