Video games were too long known for causing poor academic performance, attention disorder and violent behavior. A huge change is taking place as we are speaking and people are searching ways to use video games for good, in order to improve the very education system. For a long time we have been aware of the fact that children learn and discover the world by playing, yet we have repeatedly missed our chances to use that knowledge to further enhance the children’s ability to learn and develop in schools. How exactly this trend is going to change education as we know it? Let us dig deeper to find out.
Once Upon a Time
First, we must mention that this is not the first attempt to use video games for education. Even in the distant past when video games were at their most primitive level, we had games trying to teach kids skills and science, such as geography (Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? – 1985), economy (Lemonade Stand – 1979), problem-solving (Snooper Troops – 1982), and many other useful things. So, it is not strange that there is a need to make video games a part of formal education, today when tech is all around us, and the benefits are tremendous.
Creating a Positive Experience
It is no secret that children are not really fond of schools, but video games may create positive experiences linked to learning that can impact the way kids accept their duty of learning, doing their homework, etc. Game based learning is making complicated information accessible and understandable for children, while communicating directly to them and engaging them to be decision-makers and analytics at the same time.
Providing the Needed Context
The ex cathedra approach to teaching was (unless the teacher is creative and inventive enough) forcing children to learn valuable information by heart, without providing any useful context, and any information provided without context is bound to be misunderstood and later forgotten. Video games on the other side, are enriching a single information with various visual explanations and rewards and other incentives.
Providing Individualized Learning
Over the years, we have been able to realize that the most ineffective feature of the ex cathedra teaching is its inability to focus on each child as an individual. With the implementation of videogames, children will have the chance to be challenged to reach their full potential, in regard with their current level of knowledge and skills. One of the video games with great consideration for the need of individualized approach is Poptropica – an adventure educational game focused on enhancing children’s knowledge of history, mathematics, etc.
Boosting Learning Skills
Opposite to popular opinion that video games are making the children’s brain lazy, a study performed by American Psychological Association has suggested that video games can promote a wide array of intellectual capabilities. These findings will lead to a wider implementation of video games in schools, but they will also require both the children and the teachers to be educated regarding the ways of using video games for that purpose and avoiding any potential misunderstandings and downsides.
The Need for Control
No matter how useful video games can be in schools they also carry some dangerous to be misused. That is why it is important that alongside the game based learning to be implemented a system of control. Both the parents and the teachers should assume their parts in this important task of overseeing the kids’ use of technologies and make sure the games are exploited in a good and useful way. Proper content and the time spent playing games or learning through them are also crucial.
As you see, education is going through some massive changes right in front of our eyes. Our only task is to make sure all the benefits that can be received form game based learning are fully exploited, while the misuse is downsized to a minimum.