What is a great learning experience you have had? An aha moment where you remembered something you learnt a long time before. Write yours below! Here’s mine, and it’s a little related to the Champions League game between Chelsea and Barcelona tonight!

Back in 2001 I was a student at Birmingham University in my final year studying Computer Science and Software Engineering. I lived in a house in the student area with 4 other guys. One had a nice TV and a Playstation 2. I’ve never been a big computer games player but we had a copy of Grand Turismo 3. If you don’t know it it’s a car racing simulation. You choose a car, and race it around different circuits. It was supposed to be a realistic simulator and in order to do well you had to learn the race tracks. We played it a lot and did pretty well on it.

Fast forward a few years to 2004. Chelsea were playing Arsenal away in the quarter finals of the Champions League. It was 1-1 after the first leg and many Arsenal fans had already bought their flights to Madrid expecting to see Arsenal play in the Semis. Chelsea won 2-1 (thanks Wayne Bridge) and progressed to the semis, unexpectedly meeting Monaco who had surprisingly beaten Real Madrid. After the match I hurried online and bought flight tickets, they were still cheap. I then booked a rental car and a few weeks later, along with my brother, was on the plane to Nice, return flight in 12 hours.

We drove straight to Monaco, paid a fortune for underground parking in a city where everything is expensive, and headed to the stadium to try and get tickets. I managed to bargain a teenager down from €100 to €50 per ticket for tickets that had a face value of €20. Fast forward a few hours and we left the stadium disappointed after Chelsea managed to lose 3-1. While the principality of Monaco partied and celebrated the victory we decided to take a drive round the city before eating dinner and seeing a few of the sights. I drove through a tunnel, around a bend up a hill, with a feeling that things seemed very familiar. It was when I saw the red and white race markings around one of the bends that I said to my brother, “I know this corner, I’ve driven it before”. The weeks of playing Grand Turismo 3 had embedded the Monaco race track in my head to the point that I knew what was coming up next, it was a strange and unexpected feeling.

Sadly the football didn’t go my way but I learnt that day the power of computer games for learning!

Published by D Needlestone


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