I always had the idea that learning school subjects through games would be much more entertaining and therefore the retention level would be much higher.
I remember many classes (particularly Algebra) that where very boring to me when taught through conventional methods as such, I barely passed the class with a D-.
But when I got home, and tinkered around with my Commodore 64 to program very simple games with "Basic" I inadvertently learned Algebraic concepts without realizing it.
When I took college Algebra, and I reconciled the similarities of the conventional methods forced upon me in High school and methods I learned though osmosis while developing “simple games” in Basic I aced the class.
From that point, I began to realize that games should be a primary method of learning skills. The main problem I have always seen is that very few games deal directly with problems in the real world, It merely simulates a made up environment.
I am curious as to how much more effort it would take to build a game and a engaging game interface to, say, trade real stocks for real money instead of virtually made up ones (like the Sims, Second Life, etc.).