GIPI · Grupo Imágenes Palabras e Ideas

Discovering our environment with 'The Sims 2 Pets'


In this project we developed a multi-modal experience where we played with the video game The Sims 2 Pets in different platforms and where, in addition, we used photo cameras. Through these tools, the children, in collaboration with their families, reflected upon and compared the virtual world created in the Sims with their own daily reality. In this way, they realized how actions carried out by people are inseparable from our closest environment, from the context in which we are immersed.mos.


  • To explore multi-modal communication environments in which students can share their creations and exchange opinions using blogs and photographs.
  • To analyze the connections established by children between the real world in which we live and the virtual world provided by simulation video games.

Project Development

Data for this project was collected in a Year 5 classroom of Primary Education at the school CEIP Henares in Alcalá de Henares during the 2006/2007 school year.

Throughout the workshop organized for the project, the children learned through different media such as video consoles, photo cameras and computers connected to the Internet. On the basis of the different activities performed in the workshops, we played and reflected upon the game to ultimately show the acquired learnings through the blogs.

During this workshop, the role of photo cameras was very significant, since they became privileged tools with which children learned to look at their home through “different eyes” and to share what they liked best with their friends. In addition, photographs were always complemented with an oral or written reconstruction.  In this way, students became aware of the variety of possibilities available to convey messages. We used blogs to share what happened in each home or in the workshop with our closest friends and also to show it to other people, a more distant audience, through the Internet.


Discovering our environment

Simulation video games, such as the Sims 2 Pets, try to virtually reproduce the real world. In this sense, they are the ideal tool to analyze the environment around us and how we cope in it. On the basis of the game we can reflect upon how this real world is built in comparison to the other virtual setting.

Communicating through blogs

The use of blogs fosters the creation of a space for interactive dialogue where each and every one of the class members has the opportunity of expressing his or her opinion. In a traditional classroom only the teacher subsequently marks a student’s homework. Using blogs allowed boys and girls to share their ideas with the other individuals that took part in the workshop and even to comment on their peers´ work.

The building of multi-modal messages

The use of “new technologies” in the classroom offers the possibility of conveying multi-modal messages. Beyond the traditional writing on paper, the use of images and videos on the web, and even better, the combination of all these resources, offers a great variety of possibilities when it comes to conveying information.


Research project “Commercial video games as educational tools” included within an agreement signed with Electronic Arts.

Participating with us

  • Electronic Arts.
  • CEIP Henares in Alcalá de Henares.

More information

Related readings

  • Lacasa, P.; Méndez, L.; Martínez, R. (2009). ‘Learning using videogames as educational tools: Building bridges between commercial and serious games’. In Marja Kankaanranta & Pekka Neittaanmäki (Eds) ‘Design and use of serious games’, (107-126). Milton Keynes, UK: Springer.
  • Lacasa, P.; Méndez, L.; Martínez, R. (2008). Aprender a contar historias y a reflexionar con videojuegos comerciales. En Gross, B. ‘Videojuegos y Aprendizaje’. Barcelona: Grao.
  • Lacasa, P., Méndez, L., & Martinez, R. (2008) ‘Bringing commercial games into the classrooms’ Computers and Composition,25, pp. 331-358.
  • Lacasa, P.; Martínez-Borda, R.; Méndez, L. (2008) ‘Developing new literacies using commercial digital games as educational tools’. Linguistis & Education, 19 (2), pp. 85-106.


Website Research Group Imágenes, Palabras e Ideas. Madrid. 2009.
Coordination: Pilar Lacasa. Editing and digital support: David Herrero Martínez. Web Master: Luis Briso de Montiano Aldecoa. Graphic Design: Rebeca Ochoa Bernabé

Website Research Group Imágenes, Palabras e Ideas. Madrid. 2009. All rights reserved | Credits - Last Update: 22/10/2011