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Video Games for Learning?


In a recent Classroom Tech column, Kevin Bushweller reports that video games—long regarded by teachers and parents as a distraction—are increasingly being seen as viable learning tools. Among other things, he notes, reseachers are "seeing more overlap between the complex skills learned in games and those needed in the workplace."

What's your view? Do video games have a place in the school curriculum? How best can they be used for educational purposes?


The military and other industries have used gaming to effectively teach higher-level thinking skills and decision-making for years. Games are ideal for engaging and teaching students IF the games' content is appropriate. Unfortunately, much of the gaming industry hasn't caught on yet that there's a huge market in education for curriculum-based games, and they keep cranking out morally vacuous violence and fantasy for pure entertainment. On the other hand, educators haven't realized yet that well-designed games, contrary to stereotypes, require players to employ systematic, progressively more complex critical thinking skills. Well-designed games also demand massive retention of multilayered facts and nuances, along with continuous decision-making under stress and time constraints -- skills that call on intense focus and determination that we only dream of students demonstrating in a classroom! If you're doubtful, consider the arguments made by Steven Johnson in his book, "Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter." Better yet, ask any student who likes video games. Would it be effective to use gaming as a way to deliver instruction or to review/reinforce content? Absolutely! Now if only there were games we could really use...

I teacher computer literacy to middle schoolers and they too cannot stop playing games (even when they are supposed to be working on their lessons. They quickly learn however that if they choose this path during class time they will not have access to the computer that day!)Why not take that curiosity and use it to develop the many skills that go into creating a game. They will not even realize the communications or math skills they are using. Not to mention the skills needed to work with others to make their projects work. I would love to find curriculum and programs that will allow students even in middle school and high school to learn to create their own video games.

Video games are a waste of time.

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Recent Comments

  • Michele Havins: Video games are a waste of time. read more
  • Nancy Souilliard / Business Education Teacher: I teacher computer literacy to middle schoolers and they too read more
  • Sharon Elin, NBCT, Instructional Technology Integrator: The military and other industries have used gaming to effectively read more




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