Today’s society is hardly imaginable without digital media in everyday and professional life. In almost every area of life, they have now arrived, the school is not excluded. Digital media can be integrated into the classroom in a variety of ways, for example, by means of projector-based presentations, hours on the Internet, working with special programs or using computer games. For geography lessons, three games have been selected which, after a theoretical section on computer games in the classroom, are presented with their advantages and disadvantages.
Digital media are playing an increasingly important role in modern society. Since 2002 alone, private computer and Internet usage in our country has risen sharply. Children and adolescents are confronted with digital media at a very early age; many of them have access to computers as early as primary school. According to the study (Youth, Information, and Multi- Media) from 2009, there is at least one computer in each household and 98% of all households of the young people surveyed have Internet access. About a third of young people even have their own PC or laptop.
The Statistical Yearbook for the Federal Republic of Germany states that 75.8% of households surveyed own one or more computers. 68.7% of households have Internet access. Furthermore, it can be seen that in 2008, 98% of people aged 10 to 24 used a computer. 95% of this age group use the Internet (see Federal Statistical Office, 2009, p. These figures illustrate the great importance of media for young people. So it goes without saying that digital media are being used more and more at school. The possibilities to acquire content in a playful way or to deepen existing knowledge are numerous. The following section discusses the use of computer games in geography lessons. The three game genres educational game, adventure game and simulation game are highlighted.
Computer games in the classroom
Learning games include, for example, topographic games that help students consolidate topographical knowledge. Educational games generally have the purpose of conveying or consolidating content. Adventure games, on the other hand, are games where the player has to solve puzzles and find out secrets while exploring the game world. Most of the time, objects in the game world are collected to improve the character and, above all, to accomplish the tasks.
Simulation games are defined as Games in which the player can operate or use real-world objects, machines or (technical) systems as realistically as possible. Of importance is often very high realism degree, a simplified but nevertheless as realistic as possible control and tasks or contexts in which the player can use the simulated object meaningfully.
The number of game genres could be expanded. However, to give an overview of the possibilities of playing, which can be used meaningfully in the classroom, the three mentioned genres should be sufficient. For example, action games and role-playing games in geography lessons will play a very minor role. From the selected game genres, an example will be presented later in the text. At first, however, it is important to treat computer games and teaching in general because only in this way is it clear in general which advantages and disadvantages the use entails.