The reaction of many parents and educators to the idea of playing games in school is horror. School is supposed to be serious hard work. What these people don’t know is that in modern video games doing tasks repetitively to slowly build skills and status is the norm not the exception. These games are all about “hard” play.
Gamers have a term for this – grinding. Grinding is spending two months getting your mining skills up so that you can make a special suit of armor for your friends. Grinding is repeatedly doing some menial chore for a faction so you can earn status with them and get access to skills they can teach you.
Educators also have a term of art for this kind of activity – they call it building fluency. We learn most of the hardest skills in life through a slow process of accretion that amounts to building fluency. According to reading experts a child needs to read several million words in order to become a fluent reader.