Games of all kinds have widespread reach and huge cultural impact, and that’s why Ubisoft believes that games can be a powerful tool in education and can affect society and the environment for the better.
Keys to Learn – a series of two events held this year in London and New York and hosted by Ubisoft – aims to promote the positive force for learning and personal growth that games can be, by inviting journalists, educators, and students alike to understand, discuss, and experience the latest in digital didactics from Ubisoft.
At the most recent Keys to Learn events, everyone had the chance to get their hands on some of Ubisoft’s educational and learning software. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece allowed visitors to walk the streets and temples of ancient Greece, learning about the culture and practices of its people. Project OIKOS had players cooperating to maintain the healthy ecosystem of a pond, and learning about the interconnectedness of nature. Rabbids Coding taught them the basics of programming logic, including how loops and conditions work, and how much the Rabbids love sausages!
At the London event, the BAFTA Young Game Designers team was on hand to offer a workshop that encourages people to think critically about what makes a good game. They then asked participants to create their own game concept using a set of cards featuring various themes, locations, and mechanics. The New York event was a collaboration with the nonprofit organization Games for Change, which views games as a positive influence on society and a medium for education. Talks and panels featuring experts from New York University and Brown University, among others, discussed how games can be used as educational tools, and why they are the perfect medium for engaging, educational content.
Ubisoft experts were also present to discuss some of the educational products that are already being used in schools and universities. Olivier Palmieri, Game Director at Ubisoft Montréal, introduced Game Maker’s Odyssey, a new game-design program for university students in the form of a game. Players take on the role of a Japanese samurai, completing tasks while learning how to design their own games. Maxime Durand, historian at Ubisoft Montréal, discussed his work for Discovery Tour and its use in classrooms across the world, teaching students about ancient Egyptian and Greek history. Panels were also held on the role of games in education and modern life, featuring panelists of various backgrounds from both inside and outside Ubisoft, with perspectives ranging from the parental point of view to the neurological aspects of learning through games.
Ubisoft has also developed a wide variety of other learning and self-improvement programs and games throughout its history. The My Coach series aided players in self-improvement goals, from learning a new language to quitting smoking to exercising more often. First launched in 2011 and still releasing regular content, Rocksmith allows players to pick up a real guitar or bass, plug into the game, and learn to play the instrument through popular songs. After the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris earlier this year, Ubisoft used detailed scans of the historic cathedral, originally taken for Assassin’s Creed Unity, to create a virtual-reality tour of the building that takes players inside and above it in a hot air balloon to experience its history and architecture. A similar experience was born from the destruction of important historical sites in Iraq with Age Old Cities, an exploration of six of these sites.
Games are at the forefront of the entertainment and technology industries and have the power to do good and create positive change in society. Ubisoft believes in this wholeheartedly, from creating educational and enlightening experiences to making games more accessible in a variety of different ways. A game is unique in that it allows players to test, practice, and experiment in a virtual environment, with minimal risk or consequence and almost infinite repeatability. With games being such an important and effective medium in education, Ubisoft looks forward to taking part in shaping the future of society through education, the promotion of positive themes, and a continued commitment to creating immersive, innovative, and enriching experiences.
For more articles like this, check out our Inside Ubisoft page. And don’t forget to check out Rabbids Coding on UPLAY, available for free.