Should Video Games Be Used For Education?

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During the month of October in the year 1951, man had created the first video game. People were amazed at the way technology could be utilized and reinvented. From that day on, video games were used for entertainment by young and old alike. As time passed, video games had become more developed and graphic and memory capabilities of these console games expanded. It was unthinkable to be able to have such prime entertainment in the comfort of your own home. Video games were able to captivate the mind and hold the attention of a person for hours on end. Some began to think that video games wasted the potential of the mind. So why not use video games as a catalyst for educational development? I have been a big fan of video games for majority of my childhood and believe that if educational video games were used in a school environment that it would have motivated me, as well as other students, to push ourselves forward in a learning environment while enjoying the process at the same time. I believe that allowing video games in educational environments has many benefits and could possibly change the way school is looked at forever.

A rarely known fact about playing video games is that video games contain many health benefits for children. It is already common knowledge that video games help strengthen hand eye coordination. Unknown to most, a recent study at the University at Rochester in New York has proven that video games also help to strengthen visual skills. 2 researchers at the university had studied a child who played an action video game called Medal of Honor. The fast paced action game actual strengthened the boy’s ability to process visual images at a faster rate. The researchers also predict that video games can be used to help strengthen the sight of the visually impaired. Visual skills and hand eye coordination are among the many benefits video games have in a child’s development.

Video games have the ability to capture the attention of the user. According to www.pamf.org: “Video games are a unique form of entertainment because they encourage players to become a part of the game’s script. Although video games have been available for more than 30 years, today’s sophisticated video games require players to pay constant attention to the game. Players engage on deeper level—physically and emotionally—than people do when watching a movie or TV.” Video games are able to contain one’s attention the same way that cinematography does. It is the fact that it contains so much realism mixed with the fact that the entertainment is so abnormal compared to our everyday lives mixed with different types of action elements (whether racing, shooting, swordplay or fighting) that really enables the user to be immersed in such an exciting form of entertainment. Video games have such a strong power of captivation that if it were to be applied in an educational environment, students will never want to stop learning. It is difficult to picture considering the fact that when people think of school they imagine miserable students being forced against their will to learn things that they do not care about and just trying their best to make it through the day. With video games in place in classrooms, learning becomes a little more bearable and students will want to learn rather than feel as though they are being forced.

It is no secret to anyone that video games, simply put, provide entertainment for children. Polls show that 97% of teenagers in the United States play video games. Video games are able to provide a prime form of entertainment in the comfort of peoples’ own homes. Video games captivate the mind of its young players and send them into a world where anything is possible. So why not incorporate such entertainment into the classroom. School doesn’t need to live in the past like it used to. School has been the same since the establishment of the educational system. With all the technological advances we have been blessed with over the years, no one has taken the steps to try and incorporate a fun and entertaining way of educating students. Student who play video games in the classroom with enjoy learning and continue learning in a fun and efficient environment.

A very popular genre of video games is puzzle games. Puzzle games help exercise the mind and stimulate creativity. Puzzle games are no easy feat and take a lot of practice and perserverence. These ideas can also be applied to a classroom atmosphere. Psychcentral.com states: “The more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year, according to a long-term study published in 2013.” Video games help teach children real world skills necessary to thrive such as the problem solving skills stated in the article. Video games promote healthy development and can be used as a key resource in skills to help develop their skills in an efficient and timely manner.

A common stereotype involving video games is that video games promote social isolation. To the contrary, video games have enhanced so greatly over the years that it allows for children to cooporate in video games together in order to solve different types of problems. Some video games, as a way of promoting socialization and cooporation, only let you advance to certain parts of the game with a 2nd player available. Psychcentral states: “More than 70 percent of gamers play with a friend and millions of people worldwide participate in massive virtual worlds through video games such as “Farmville” and “World of Warcraft,” the article noted. Multiplayer games become virtual social communities, where decisions need to be made quickly about whom to trust or reject and how to lead a group, the authors said. People who play video games, even if they are violent, that encourage cooperation are more likely to be helpful to others while gaming than those who play the same games competitively, a 2011 study found.” Aside from the basic education a student would receive from video games, they also instill proper morals in children that are to exemplified.

Another monumental benefit to video games is that it engages, and even improves, one’s ability to retain memory. Its so common to find a child who may not remember what happened during the civil war for his or her history test but is able to remember the the cinematic ending to The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo 64. According to CBS.com, a study was performed with senior citizens who were told to play video games for a certain amount of time for a month. Concluding the experiment, the study proved that video games actually helped the citizens multitasking capabilities and their ability to remember different things. According to the article: “Researchers at UC San Francisco say video games may offset or even reverse the negative effects of aging on seniors’ brains. According to the study’s authors, the research provides evidence that video games can alter the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to change functionally over time.” If this were applied to a scholastic environment, students  would be able to retain vital information in their minds which would enhance their performance as well as their test scores. This can prove to be an exciting and significant improvement in educational standards.

 

As clearly stated above, there is no reason why video games should not be used for educational means in a scholastic environment. As a society, we need to realize that times are changing and that media is the way of the future. The world is in need of an educational reform. It is because we are so used to the olden educational system of days past that people fear the change. What they fail to realize is that incorporation of entertaining media can drastically enhance the educational system. We must learn to accept change so that we can continue the trend of evolving as a species. It is a simple matter of time before people come to realize that times are changing and that it may well be for the better so we better start accepting it because they will happen sooner or later.

 

Bibliography:

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200810/physicshistory.cfm

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0528_030528_videogames.html

http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/general/media-web/videogamehtmls.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/11/26/video-games-help-boost-social-memory-cognitive-skills/62537.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-video-games-sharpen-seniors-multitasking-memory-skills/

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