Can Video Games Inspire the Next Generation of Engineers?
After all, these are the people who will be pioneers of the next frontier, one dominated by digital. We already know that, according to Mark Zuckerberg, video games can help get kids interested in computer programming.
And that got us thinking: Is there more to video games than meets the eye? In short, can one of the most dominant forms of media inspire and teach the younger generation of engineers? And not just inspire those who want to create games (they may manipulate code and complex wire-frame designs, but software and computer engineers are still engineers), but for those who want to use games as a springboard for other, more traditional engineering careers.
So, let’s consider why video games could hold the key to enlightening a whole new generation of engineers…
The predominant answer is, games are fun – and education should be enjoyable if children are to be genuinely enthused by what they’re learning. For kids, something like physics can be an intensely tricky subject to grasp – in fact, for some, it’s downright opaque. Video games help by demonstrating the effects of, say, a tumbling building block, in an easily accessible and enjoyable way (as anyone who’s ever played Angry Birds can attest).
More than that, though, they let kids try out their own ideas and theories in a safe and playful space. Video games are, first and foremost, hands-on experiences. Even non-scientific games like Call of Duty help kids develop their sensorimotor skills, or, if you prefer, their hand to eye co-ordination. This offers a unique opportunity, since no other medium can rival the possibilities of a video game, with its emphasis on interaction and creation. Much like engineering itself, video games require both mental and physical ability and the most inspiring movie about engineering in the world will still render the audience passive; games are an active source of inspiration, letting kids not only see, but do.
Like engineering, the video gaming arena is vast. As this article from learningliftoff.com shows, with a range of apps and games that help kids practically and visually enhance the understanding of various engineering disciplines. In fact, just by engaging with each of these, you’d have an elementary knowledge of key industry principles, from quantum physics to civil engineering.
And that brings us to another reason why video games could herald a new generation of engineers – players are always faced with a problem to solve. That’s the very nature of game-play, to overcome obstacles using everything you have at your disposal, from item pick-ups to special abilities. That’s a pretty fair assessment of a day in the life of an engineer, too, come to think of it; games help kids develop the same critical faculties they’ll need in an engineering career.
We’d be foolish to suggest that video games alone can reverse the trend of declining uptake for STEM subjects; but we’d be even more foolish to suggest they can’t play a part in creating the next round of engineers. To that we say, game on.
We’re passionate about the world of engineering – that’s why we’re market leaders when it comes to springs and pressings. If you’d like to know more about how we aid the industry, and how we can help you, contact us on 0208 663 1800.