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How location-based mobile games help kids learn their geography

Image Credit: Actoz Soft
This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
Editor's Note from Stephanie Carmichael:
Paula writes about a new app called In a Space and the benefits that location-based gaming can have for education. What do you think of these types of games?

News about funding in the location-based gaming market is often accompanied by dollar signs signifying large numbers like $550,000, $5 million, or sometimes much more. That’s because location-based games are red hot — and some companies are learning that location-based technology can be used for more than dating apps. It can help children learn through fun mobile games.

In a SpaceTake the newly launched iOS title In a Space. Introduced to the Canadian App Store on Feb. 14 and set for a wider release, Actoz Soft’s dynamic shooting game entices kids to save planet Earth from space invaders by providing them with fully equipped weapons.

The location-based thrust of In a Space comes into play when it identifies the player’s geo-location, which becomes the starting point in the game. From there, players enjoy specialized location-specific artifacts as they battle against the Citadel and the Custodians, who’ve arrived from various places in the universe.

Interesting games like this one work as a learning tool better than a boring class does for kids. My 12-year-old son knows about the stunning Eiffel Tower structure residing in Paris and the Statue of Liberty standing proud and tall in New York City — and not necessarily due to history class or geography lessons from his parents. And he remembers the functionality in Call of Duty that enables players to blow up those monuments — in the virtual world, that is.

Good educators are recognizing the value of spatial gameplay, which is both immersive and incremental. It can help children make progress by getting them to have fun and forget they are learning.

While some news reports focus on the looming danger of location-based “big data” (and I do find it a little bit creepy yet cool that certain Android smartphone “activity recognition” censors can predict whether the person currently carrying the phone is likely standing, sitting, walking or running), others recognize the benefit of the technology.

As the location-based mobile-gaming industry continues to thrive, it’ll be interesting to see what corporate players pull to the head of the pack. Whoever they may be, they’ll know exactly where the players are (literally).


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