New video game teaches teens about electricity

An ideal way to teach students about electricity.


Video games are structured in such a way that the level of difficulty can be continuously increased, so players are challenged to solve ever more difficult problems. A general lesson from video games, reported by many gamers themselves, is that persistence pays off. If you keep trying, using various strategies, you will eventually succeed in meeting your goal within the game.

There are varieties of video games that teach players different life skills. Now, scientists at the University of Cambridge developed a new video game that gives teenagers an understanding of electricity by solving a series of puzzles in a bid to encourage more of them.

Scientists dubbed this game as Wired, that teaches teens the key mathematical concepts unpinning electricity.

Diarmid Campbell from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering and the game’s designer said, “A video game is an ideal way to teach students about electricity as it allows players to visualize the underlying concepts and the relationships between them. It provides a structure for incremental challenges, each one building on previous ones, and there is a set of tried and tested motivational techniques that can encourage people to push through tricky areas.”

The game will offer intuitive information on circuits the logic of switches, voltage, current and resistance. Users then have to analyze them by wiring up circuits to solve problems.

Campbell said, “Most educational games are delivered through the classroom and only need to be more fun than the lesson they are replacing. Wired will be delivered through gaming websites, so it needs to be at least as fun as other video games that people play. We are not gamifying education; we are edufying, and perhaps even edifying a game.”

“Since electricity is invisible and isn’t something we encourage kids to play with, this intuition isn’t there in the same way. Students can learn mathematics, but may not have the intuition to know how to apply it. Students are often told that electricity behaves like water flowing through pipes – which gets you some of the ways there, but actually, people don’t really understand how water behaves either. How many people can tell you why the shower changes temperature when you flush the toilet?”


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