One of TEDx’s latest talks comes from a very young participant—13-year-old middle schooler Lewis Tachau. This kid is well-spoken and passionate about…learning history from World of Tanks? Yeah, you heard that right.
Tachau discusses how immersing himself in the game taught him wartime strategy, tank history and design, and some of what happened during the 20th century and more recently in modern wartime conflict.
My only argument—because I think learning history from games is a fantastic start—is that World of Tanks shouldn’t be the only source of Tachau’s history education. (I would also argue that history textbooks also shouldn’t be the only source of education.) Video games are engaging and exciting, and they can inspire kids—and adults—to pursue more learning opportunities in certain subjects. They can give great visual and aural context, as well as make events and systems more memorable and comprehensible. But most games are, in the end, built for fun, and there is nothing in the contract that says they have to be accurate in their retelling. I hope Tachau will continue to explore his enthusiasm for history, and I hope educators will take note—video games are great for inspiring this kind of enthusiasm.