What Do We Mean By “Academic”?
We use the word academic to differentiate from educational. To some, those two words might be the same thing but we do not think so. When it comes to media – whether it is a movie, book, TV show, or video game – being “educational” can mean a lot of different things. Academic is associated with with an academy, or school, which is more specific than the broader term of educational. Lilac’s goal is to help the student succeed in school, which is why we focus on the term “academic”.
Most entertaining content out there is educational in some form even though the educational value of the content is not very apparent. There is typically a moral, theme, opinion, lifestyle, etc. that the author is trying to share and convey to the reader with their story. This is basic storytelling. To learn, the reader must think in an attempt to understand what the author is trying to say with the plot, characters, and story. If the reader doesn’t think about this, the reader is entertained (if the story is good) but didn’t necessarily learn anything.
Then there is media with more apparent educational value. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Bill Nye the Science Guy. Bill Nye’s content is fantastic for understanding concepts in science and generating excitement and positive attitudes towards science, which is very academic and very impactful. Bill Nye has a high educational value but the academic value is limited.
Something that is very important in the learning process (academic or otherwise) is interaction by the learner. This is called active learning or as many people refer to it – practice! This is where video games are already delivering tremendous educational content. However, most of it is not very academic.
Lilac intends to create video games that deliver entertaining value and generate excitement and positive attitudes towards academic subjects like physics and math. However, we will do this without sacrificing academic rigor. We will force the student/player to interact and practice solving problems that they might encounter on a test in school. They will practice in the context of our games, which will be more fun and compelling than doing problems out of a book.