Group: Video games can reshape education

Associated Press is pretty mainstream media – great to see them reporting on this now!

Group: Video games can reshape education

Scientists call it the next great discovery, a way to captivate students so much they will spend hours learning on their own.

The theory is that games teach skills that employers want: analytical thinking, team building, multitasking and problem-solving under duress. Unlike humans, the games never lose patience. And they are second nature to many kids.

The idea might stun those who consider games to be the symbol of teenage sloth. Yet this is not about virtual football or skateboarding. Games would have to be created and evaluated with the goal of raising achievement, said federation president Henry Kelly.

What’s needed, he said, is research into which features of games are most important for learning — and how to test students on the skills they learn in games. The departments of education and labor and the National Science Foundation would lead the way under this plan.

Schools, colleges and universities are a fractured market. They make their own buying decisions, and are likely to be dubious about the value of games.

“Common sense tells us that a medium so basic to the lives of these ‘millennials’ has potential beyond the living room,” Lowenstein said. “We would be crazy not to seek ways to exploit interactive games to teach our children.”

But when he thought about how games would work in class, questions kept popping to mind. How much training would teachers receive? Who would persuade school leaders and the public that games aren’t a waste of time? Would education schools add serious gaming to the curriculum?

Ultimately, he said, teachers need to see games as a way to help — not as a threat.

Yes, this is all very hopeful! It’s particularly great to think of this actually having significant government attention and funding, since that means that it will also get significant academic and industry attention, as both chase those dollars.

But that last quote I ended on is a really really important stumbling block which isn’t going to be addressed easily by government or industry or academic administrators – it’s about all the teachers who are actually in the classroom. Here’s data from a previous blog that shows just how difficult all those teachers might be:

Less than 30 percent of teachers ever play games outside of school. And 82% of children have played games in just the last 3 weeks.

There’s a generation gap for ya.



2 thoughts on “Group: Video games can reshape education

  1. joy says:

    That makes me think of the Peacemaker video game that’s being developed. You are the Prime Minister of Israel or the President of Palestine and you have to do reconciliation in the region. I think video games can be used for educational purposes — they just have to be the right types. Obviously, kids won’t be playing GTA in class.

  2. theschwartz says:

    Thanks, Joy. Yes, I have heard of that one and a few other games that are designed with an educational purpose. I’m glad you bring it up, since I think that’s really the point – there is some educational value in certain games as they are, but the real win will be when we use gaming technology to produce fun new games which are carefully designed and built to be educational at the same time that they are fun and engaging.

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