Home Gaming American high schools to use Civilization V to teach students about war and peace

American high schools to use Civilization V to teach students about war and peace

2 min read

Civ v trump mod

According to Steam, I have spent 182.5 hours in Civilization V. 100.1 hours back when I shared a Steam account with my other half, and 82.4 hours on my own account. I still only have 34% of the achievements, none of which translate into university credits. But thanks to a new partnership between Take Two and GlassLab, everyone’s favourite history simulator could become part of school curricula.

Developed by Firaxis, Civilization V is a critically acclaimed game that has earned a ton of awards. But with a new partnership, 2K is looking to create CivilizationEDU, which will add learning analytics to the experience. Sid Meier, the Founder of Firaxis games and guy whose name is always a prefix to all Civilization games, explained:

For the past 25 years, we’ve found that one of the fun secrets of Civilization is learning while you play. We’ve always focused on entertainment first, but we believe that our players – young and old – enjoy learning, even if they don’t always enjoy education. Civilization players find fun in discovering new civilizations, running into famous historical leaders, and charting their own version of human history. Along the way, players learn valuable lessons from their success and failures and are able to try again, employing different choices and strategies. We’re absolutely thrilled to be partnering with GlassLab and I am excited to see CivilizationEDU in classrooms next year.

I can certainly attest to the casual and passive learning that has taken place while playing Civilization. There are plenty of Wonders of the World that I learned a great deal more about through the game than I might have known otherwise. The same goes for military units – I never really cared that much about military history, but it’s a lot more intriguing when you’re looking to upgrade your units and see how you can exploit their new strengths over specific terrain. Added to this, students can learn unique problem solving skills regarding diplomacy, economics and technology.

In addition, GlassLab Inc. will add a learning analytics engine to CivilizationEDU to capture students’ progress and assess their problem-solving skills – harnessing the popularity and innovation of interactive entertainment and turning it into a powerful tool for the classroom and alternative to standardized tests. Teachers who use CivilizationEDU will have access to an online dashboard that will provide reports on students’ progress, demonstrating how in-game accomplishments relate to problem solving; developer diaries; gameplay tutorial videos, and instructional resources, including an in-depth gameplay guide and lesson plans aligned to academic and 21st century standards.

So instead of taking a standardized test you might be ask to complete a scenario in Civilization? Now that’s a kind of education I can get behind. I love that games are increasingly used as educational tools. Minecraft is already helping with city planning and teaching kids programming, so why not use Civ to impart historical, cultural, technological and economic knowledge on students? At least then I could call my next attempt at beating the game with all world leaders “studying”.


Last Updated: June 24, 2016


  1. Mistake Not...

    June 24, 2016 at 11:33

    So the American youth probably thinks Gandhi likes nuking the sh*t out of everyone?


    • Dutch Matrix

      June 24, 2016 at 12:00

      Everyone has a breaking point…


  2. Alien Emperor Trevor

    June 24, 2016 at 11:36

    So when I play an FPS I really am playing a murder simulator? Jack Thompson was right all along!


  3. Ottokie

    June 24, 2016 at 11:37

    When I was in school they installed Carmageddon on all the PC’s xD


  4. Original Heretic

    June 24, 2016 at 11:44

    Well, I’ve always thought that South African politicians should play something like SimCity or a similar city/town building game. Perhaps then it’ll teach them how to run real places more properly!


    • HvR

      June 24, 2016 at 11:57

      “I will.. just ac… tivate the cheat…menus to give my …. self seven hundred thousand eleventh listen carefully hundred million ran … delas and build … Simkandla ……he he he he”


      • The Order of the Banana

        June 24, 2016 at 13:21

        lol can you imagine Jacob playing Sim City?

        “Cyril… Cyril.. .he he he he what does this button do?”
        “That’s the windows start menu, Mein Führer”
        “he he he he this Sim City is easy he he he he”
        “You’re yet to start the game Mein Führer zu Nkandla”


        • HvR

          June 24, 2016 at 13:56

          45min after Malema starts his game and the whole city is rioting

          “I’m weening I’m weening. Take down the counter-revolutionary highway… yes yes burn the capitalist racist banks”


          • The Order of the Banana

            June 24, 2016 at 13:59

            I think he’s rather playing Tropico 5 hahaha!

  5. Skittle

    June 24, 2016 at 11:55

    Yeah no. I don’t see this working.


  6. miaau

    June 24, 2016 at 12:03

    Rome Total War, sure only about that era, but it was far better at teaching about history. I read history books for fun sometimes, have done my whole life and Rome Total War taught me many more things I did not know than the entire Civ Franchise together.

    AND the historical battles in Rome Total War ARE accurate (the ones I researched BECAUSE of the game, anyway). Try and do what Ceaser did to the Gauls, come on. Build a wall around a city that has a wall, survive being attacked from both city and the relief column to city. Yeah.

    I would, as the history channel did a few years back, rather look at Rome and Europe Total War games for historical accuracy.


    • Dutch Matrix

      June 24, 2016 at 12:17

      Didn’t Ceaser surrender his laurel wreath to that most indomitable of Gaulish chiefs, Vitalstatistix after his bravest warriors Asterix and Obelix successfully completed the 12 tasks put to them by Ceaser himself?


      • miaau

        June 24, 2016 at 12:19

        yes, that is also true.

        Tasks that only the gods could do.


  7. Dutch Matrix

    June 24, 2016 at 12:14

    And to understand the landing on Normandy beach best, load up Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Try getting 5 steps on your first play through. I dare ya!


  8. The Order of the Banana

    June 24, 2016 at 12:49

    I get what they’re trying to do, but this is all just destined to fail. There’s a current desire to overhaul the traditional way of educating (and yes, I know how we were taught -back in the day- was flawed), but what they’re coming up with these days are unrealistic fluff with zero educational weight.


    • The Order of the Banana

      June 24, 2016 at 13:18

      I’ll just add, learning new things can be fun, but one of the strengths of education is also discovering that not everything is fun. Sometimes you just have to learn something even if it hurts… and not everything has to come with a reward. If you’re learning to get a gold star, you’re missing the point.


      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        June 24, 2016 at 13:42

        I remember having a long argument with a fellow student at tech who was upset about being taught more than he needed to know for test purposes.

        You study in order to learn about a subject, not just pass a test on the subject, knowledge that’s not tested isn’t wasted time or effort.


        • The Order of the Banana

          June 24, 2016 at 14:00

          That’s such a horrible attitude to have… :/ But I see it with my students as well. It’s all about merely getting a pass mark, and it leaves me shaking my head.


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