Government In Action: Helping Students Understand The Intricacies Of Congress


A video game called Government in Action combines the fun and educational elements to come up with a multiplayer game that will allow players to experience the difficulties in the life of a U.S. Congressman. The game, developed by Muzzy Lane Software and McGraw Hill Education, hopes to make students better understand how Congress works.

The game was specifically designed with the American Government course in mind. The course is being taken by more than 750,000 college freshmen every year. The game will begin with the players being elected to Congress. They will then have to maximize their political capital while balancing the need to pass legislations. The players would have to get elected every two years. They would be given their own political affiliations as well.

In this multiplayer game, other players can co-sponsor a bill that another player authored. A player also needs to make his constituents happy, as well as deal with the local media, non-government organizations and the leftists. Also, the player would have to hold fundraisers and appease lobbyists.

There are two sites that the players would need to be: the U.S. Congress in Washington and the players’ home districts. The game hopes to show the students that getting legislations passed isn’t always an easy thing. To make it a bit more friendly for instructors, the game is customizable too, which means that professors can tailor-fit the game to their class syllabus.

Rep. John Tierney (6th district) of Massachussetts said in a CNN report that he hopes the game can get students more interested in learning about how Congress works. Tierney worked with Muzzy Lane Software for the game.

The congressman admitted that the time has come for the academe to see that traditional textbooks no longer make their classes and topics interesting. By using technology, students and teachers will have an easier time communicating their ideas.

Tierney said that using technology and even an educational video game will increase the interest and understanding of the students. Professor Jason Seitz of the Georgia Perimeter College told CNN that the game helped his students understand the concept of US Congress and how the government works. He also said that the students became more engaged because of the game. It allows him to have some room to explain the implications of the US Congress instead of having to explain the basics.

The same report from CNN said that a March 2012 survey of teachers showed that 32 percent use games two to four times a week while 18 percent use them every day. The survey also said that about 70 percent of teachers agreed that technology and devices increase motivation and engagement while 62 percent of them said that games make teaching easier.

Government in Action is part of the McGraw-Hill Practice suit of hands-on and experiential learning games. It has been tested across U.S. States, particularly in the Georgia Perimeter College, the Collin Community College in Texas, the California State University, the San Diego State, the Richland College in Texas and the Clayton State in Georgia.

Sources: CNN and Muzzy Lane