A Poison Turned Cure: Video Games in Education

Raya Castaneda Mrs. Sansom English 1301 November 29, 2010

Castaneda 2 .

For parents. Some teachers. Other teachers. however. video games are their worst nightmare because they turn kids away from studying and doing homework. or even necessary. this magnetism games have on their kids can be quite a hassle to deal with. Most of the time only one of those objectives. The kids. get frustrated because there’s no “fun” activity. he or she gets immersed into its depths. to learn. especially if said kids haven’t finished their homework yet. stripped of their ability to text. is reached. however. sometimes the teacher has a hard time even with teaching because he or she can’t convince the class that the material is fun. to listen to music. or to utilize their digital devices in any other way. When someone picks up and begins to play a good video game. For teachers. hoping that some students amid the sea of so-called “lazy” kids find the material interesting enough to concentrate on. have realized that those teaching tools don’t always get the job done. These teachers have found another tool to entice students to pay attention in class. they tune out the teacher and don’t learn anything. Video games have long been regarded as kid-attracting attention distracters by parents and teachers. one that’s long been associated with play and mindless entertainment: the video game. in their mind. have spotted the potential that video games have for education: they satisfy kids’ inner technological cravings. they challenge the kids with its tricks and . Some teachers plow valiantly ahead armed with their lectures and textbooks and PowerPoint presentations. to divert their continuously wandering attention. However. the teaching-the-kids one. sometimes for hours on end.Castaneda 1 Teachers have a very hard job: teach kids what they need to know while keeping them entertained and engaged in the classroom. which is teaching kids. As a result of their boredom.

knowledge to simulated situations. according to Roberts (Phillips). Jonathan Roberts adds to these results.” SimCity plays an important role in many “gaming schools as it has shown to improve students’ problem-solving and analytical skills. such as problem-solving and application skills. video games helped kids improve IQ test scores. and they keep the kids focused from beginning till end. First of all. resulting in better problem-solving and analytical student skills as well as engaged students. In June 2009. author of Everything Bad Is Good for You. Therefore. in “Video Games”). researchers have found that using video games in education incorporate principles crucial to human cognitive learning. adding that women who play 3D games improve in spatial rotation tests. untapped opportunity” to support learning (qtd. Even a surgeon’s skill at “key-hole surgery” improves with the aid of simulation games. . These teachers realize that video games can do what textbooks and PowerPoint presentations cannot do: make learning fun. The National Education Association (NEA) recommended the use of Electronic Arts’ SimCity in classrooms. According to Steven Johnson. the use of video games in the classroom stimulates students’ interest in the class material and enables students to apply their book.Castaneda 2 puzzles that require knowledge application to conquer. a game where the player constructs his or her own city and decides how to run it. Research on the use of video games in education has discovered many positive effects in kids.” Other parts of the brain improved when video games were used for education. the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop concluded that video games provide “an important. One example of such a video game is SimCity. According to the 2010 internet article “Video Games & Education.

are more adaptable to change in situational details.’ In order to beat them. students apply their knowledge through the use of simulated role playing. The interaction boosts students’ learning. Johnson explains that.Castaneda 3 Another benefit that researchers have discovered is that video games improve kids’ grades. because games demand so much of the player’s attention to detail. They challenge kids with puzzles that can sometimes take quite a bit of brainpower to solve. Just because of the nature of video games. they’ll be successful as teaching tools.” asserts that instead of learning the material. one that played the video game Dimension-M over a period of 18 weeks. Two groups of students took a math test. . and “have improved visual attention” (Phillips). Johnson agrees.07 points compared to the increase of only 3. Huna Yusuf. they can make kids engage more in class. video games “require…complex preplanning and problem solving” (Phillips) on behalf of the player. Even violent video games have a silver lining in terms of educational benefits. A study done by Daphne Bavelier. There was a study conducted by the University of Central Florida that measured the effectiveness of video games on kids’ math test scores. Yusuf adds that if video games can be successfully integrated into a course. assistant professor in the brain and cognitive science department at the University of Rochester. players as a result absorb more information. showed that violent games helped “improve math performance and other brain tasks” (Matthews). The former group’s math test scores increase by 8. Video games offer a new approach to traditional methods of teaching. and a group of kids who didn’t play any games. author of the article “Video Games Start to Shape Classroom Curriculum.74 points that the latter group attained (“Video Games”). “given limited time and resources” for the teacher. saying that video games can make kids intellectually ‘smarter.

While research has proved that video games would make a useful and exciting addition to any class. . teaches kids about hunger issues plaguing the world. They are. electronical gratification. any positive effects are outweighed by the negative” (qtd. according to the oppositionists. Examples of games that teach kids while challenging them include Making History and Food Force. based on past data and events.” “more hazardous than violent television or cinema” on kids. how to lead their own nation. Also. 39). Facts. Food Force. students apply what they already know in simulated situations. as put by Craig A. a computer game created by the United Nations. and they have to decide. Students become the leaders of nations. there has also been a built-up opposition against using video games in the classroom. will only desensitize real-life violence and inspire aggression upon the kids.” making other playtime activities look boring to kids (Suellentrop). Another idea about video games is that video games bring only “instant. Making History is meant to “simplify history” and make history fun and accessible to students (Visscher 38. Making History is a video game that simulates important historic events such as World War II. Gawin McKiernan warns that “…when it comes to violent video games. in Matthews). Educational games can still teach kids while making the material more fun and engaging than textbooks. It lets kids lead their own “virtual food-aid campaign” (Visscher 35). author of the article “Violent Video Games: Myths. Anderson. People against the idea of video games incorporated into education are concerned that video games will not only fuel the fire of childhood obesity.Castaneda 4 Instead of taking notes and memorizing dates. and Unanswered Questions. violent video games. making them ‘dumber’ as a result. but also limit their brain activity and natural reflexes.

Castaneda 5 The opponents don’t come without data. positive effects of DDR include “better arterial response to . A study conducted in Japan showed that children use only a part of their brains when playing video games. and affect” as well as “decreased pro-social behavior” (Anderson). the same study by Daphne Balevier shows that there is a silver lining when it comes to violent video games. there is a “reduced brain response” for people who have a “history of game playing” (Phillips). 14). better attention and better cognition” (qtd. and Guitar Hero that are being incorporated into school. there are video games such as the simulation games like Dance Dance Revolution. “obesity among children has increased quite dramatically in the last 20 years” (qtd. in Matthews). According to a West Virginian study that determined the effectiveness of simulation games on children’s health and well-being. they can still be answered to. while it can’t be denied that most video game activity is considered sedentary. also shows that people who play ‘pro-social’ games learn the importance of teamwork and cooperation. According to Dr. and. For the health issues. As for the violence issue. or DDR. according to Bruce Bartholow of the University of Missouri. a director of children’s health at the Chedoke-McMaster Hospital in Hamilton. and they are anything but sedentary. studies have shown that violent video games are related to “increased aggressive behavior. According to Balevier. While these pieces of evidence appear like they give the opposition a strong defense. Canada. Columbia. “people that play these fast-paced games have better vision. which involved games such as Medal of Honor and Unreal Tournament. and those people will more likely help people in need in real life (Matthews). They “used a smaller portion of their brains” than children who did simple addition (Hunsinger 13. The study. thoughts. For example. Oded Bar-Or. in Hunsinger 15).

for the argument that video games only deliver short bursts of pleasure for children.” Suellentrop believes. they should be welcomed as alternative tools into the school curriculum.…no weight gain. according to Suellentrop. Video games have long been known to be used as mere playthings. The best video games. Studies have proven that video games actually benefit kids in terms of learning instead of hindering them. should make gamers more successful in business than nongamers. However. They have been marketed that way for years. teachers have increasingly turned to video games to spice up the class material. and focus on class material. mental abilities.Castaneda 6 increased blood flow. Since video games improve kids’ grades. an increase in aerobic capacity.” more self confidence. are puzzlers that take a very long time to finish. Finally. from many hours to many weeks. . with the decline in kids’ interest in the classroom. and a renewed interest in physical education classes (O’Hanlon). This “delayed gratification. that is a misconception.

Earl. Huma. Craig A. Haugen. 34-39. Web. Print. no. “Excessive Video Game Playing Can Adversely Affect Children’s Health. Oct 2003. Video Games. 16 Oct 2010.” T H E Journal. 16 Oct 2010. Chris. Print. Summer 2006: 14-21. 36.” Wilson Quarterly Vol. “Video Games Start to Shape Classroom Curriculum.” Christian Science Monitor. pp.” Ode. XXX. “Playing With Our Minds.p. vol. 17 Nov.” Buzzle.p. 34. Sept 2006. Sept 18 2008: n. 28 May 2010: n. 16 Oct 2010. NY). Web. Yusuf. David M. 15 Oct 2010. O’Hanlon. Matthews. 2010. 3. SIRS Researcher. “Video Games Can Benefit Classroom Education.” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester. ." The Entertainment Software Association . SIRS Researcher. vol.com. Web. Suellentrop. SIRS Researcher. April 2007. 4. Visscher.Home Page. 2010. Marco. ed. Karen. “Violent Video Games Touted as Learning Tool. Charlene. “Some Video Game Playing Can Have a Positive Effect on Children’s Health. 26 Feb 2007. No. Web. Print.Castaneda 7 Works Cited Anderson. and Unanswered Questions.” Psychological Science Agenda. “Violent Video Games: Myth. "Video Games & Education. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. Print. ESA Entertainment Software Association.. Hunsinger. 2008. Facts. Web.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful