Thursday, February 13, 2014

Video Games and Education, Can They Mix?

Many people's perception on whether or not video games can be used to effectively teach young kids are usually self made, with the idea that video games make kids less social, more aggressive, and lacking in the education department. That is very much not true. Despite most people’s thinking, video games can be used to educate and help kids improve motor skills.
Courtesy of Wikimedia

To begin with, video games help kids improve motor skills. Video games and playing interactive video games such as Wii have been thought to have a connection. In a study done by the Deakin University in Australia the researchers “involved 53 children aged from three to six years,” and had “35 percent of the children played non-interactive electronic games,” while the remaining children either played interactive video games or a combination of the two. Each group played for a certain number of hours each week. The researchers found that the kids that played more interactive video games had an easier time with some of the movements, such as kicking, catching, or rolling a ball. But when it came to locomotor skills, movement forcing the feet and body to move places such as jumping, there was no clear connection. Dr. Barnett, the head researcher said “we found that greater time spent playing interactive electronic games is associated with higher object control skill in these young children, we cannot say why.” This shows that there is a connection between video games, in this case interactive video games, and with children development of motor skills.

Although some misconceptions of playing too many video games are wrong, there are some that are correct. A negative effect of playing too many video games would be addiction to them. In the documentary “China’s Web Junkies” directed by Shosh Shlam, the documenters followed the lives of many teenagers that have been sent to this isolated camp without any electronics whatsoever to try and “cure” them of their internet/video game addiction. In another study six experts in neuroscience and cognitive psychology got together to congregate and to show their opinions of questions on the effect of video games on the brain. When asked if video games can have a negative effect on the brain and the behavior of the person they agreed by saying, “Intensive play of high-action video games has been shown to have negative cognitive effects.” Also, researchers have discovered more of a connection between violent video games and thoughts of aggression.

Finally, video games can also help children with their education. In a visual aid the visual aid has many statistics to do with the point of view from both the teachers and the students. More so in younger kids, K-5, are teachers starting to implement the use of video games to teach their students. This is helpful because the children are more comfortable with this style of learning, “91% of school-aged children (ages 2-17) in the U.S. play electronic games.” This means that since so many kids have played video games before and are familiar with them, that the kids will want to be taught in this way because they have done it before. Also, this is helpful because the more familiar a kids is to his work and how to do it, the more able they are to keep track of his/her work. This means that because teachers are starting to use video games more that the students will more than likely be comfortable with this, and if the student is more comfortable with this then they are likely to keep track of it and stay on top of it. This could improve grades of kids because they would want to learn more do to the usage of electronic games. The majority of students believe that their daily educational schedule should include some form the video game with it. This shows that students are already thinking of implementing video games into their daily schedule. Overall, video games are starting to be used more often, and they are actually educational, not just an easy way for students to get through the day.

Once people understand the positive effects video games can have on children, improved motor skills, such as being able to roll a ball, catch a ball, or throw a ball, and learning ability, they will start to implement them more into the educational system. Many things come from video games, some are good, some are bad, its our job to sift through all the junk and find out what really works to help our next generation of little Einsteins.


Updated Conclusion 6 March 2014

From creating a blog I learned from others that the idea of putting education and video games together is a very alien idea to them, whereas some of the statistics I found were on the opposite end of the spectrum. Also, I learned how concerned some are of how much time is spent on playing video games, and whether or not parents limit their child’s time. I’m used to being trusted with how much time I spend on the internet and so I assumed that was a typical thing for parents to do, but I learned that a lot of parents think some terrible things about video games. Before this I didn’t think that video games being integrated into education was that much of a topic to talk about, but I have found out how controversial it really is. Since some parents are likely to be less educated on the positive effects of video games they would naturally think that video games would destroy the education system, and think that the idea was absurd. I thought that my original argument was engaging enough for the readers to become interested in or at least think about it. And I still think that now, especially when it comes to the parents. Opinions from people that have or actually are living through this situation, with their kids, are very interesting to me. That is because of how much the thought of video games has evolved in parents of the newer generation from older parents or grandparents.

Bibliography
"Tex playing video games." Wikimedia. N.p., 1 Nov. 2005. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. This gave me my image for my blog. 


6 comments:

  1. Hello Jamie, your article was very informative and well-written. I didn't realize that kid's video games had an impact on motor skills, I thought that they would effect problem solving in some aspects. Also, I was surprised to hear about the camp to cure the teenagers from their addiction to video gaming. I have always heard myths and rumors about addiction to gaming, but I didn't realize that it actually occurred to such a severe extent. Also, I was surprised about the idea that many of the children wanted to have some sort of interaction with gaming, but I have always thought that parents would limit or cut down on the amount to time designated to gaming. Is that true? Also, do you know what types of games do the schools use to enhance their learning, or attempt to replace some of the lessons that they, otherwise, would have to teach themselves? This article was surprising to me, as I thought that they games were not helpful, and if, to only problem solving and quick thinking, not motor skills.

    Thanks,
    -NDS

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    1. Hi Jamie, your post had some very interesting material. The study about interactive games surprised me. The results were interesting but I think little kids, like the three to six year olds in the study, would be much better off just playing with real balls. When I was that age, I played with toys and sometimes watched TV. I think the use of video games should be for much older kids. Eventually video gaming will be an acceptable educational tool. It will be awhile before people can accept that in our culture. I don't think it will happen while I'm still in school.

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    2. Hi NDS, thanks for contributing to this blog. I have read articles about parents limiting the amount of time their child is playing video games, such as (http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-set-limits-around-video-game-use.php#). This article doesn't give a set amount of time per day that a child should play video games, but some rules that involve having to do something or follow something in order to get to play video games. The types of games that would be played would most likely be interactive and relatively complex. This is to keep the attention of the player so that they actually have to know what is going on instead of being able to guess randomly, and still be correct.

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    3. Hi Sean, thanks for contributing to this blog. I think in this day and age as technology is constantly moving forward that we as a collective society have to move with it. In this case we have the opportunity to introduce something that will most likely be in the rest of our lives to a younger audience. This would help them be more comfortable with the technology as a whole. I do not think that younger kids should be spending a considerable amount of time dedicated to playing video games, because I agree with you that young kids should be playing with toys until they feel the need to quit playing with them.

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  2. Hello Jamie,
    Your article explained really well the facts of how video games can be good for kids and that they are not just tools that ruin people's minds. What surprised me about this article was the fact that video games help increase motor skills and that is something that I've never heard of. I would also agree with what you wrote about how kids would want to learn with video games because they are used to them. i feel the same way. My question for you is: What impact can video games have on the current educational system if they were to be allowed to be used in schools? Would it just ruin education or bring it to a whole new level?

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    Replies
    1. Hello LamRedRanger, thank you for not only reading my blog, but being interested enough so that you would want to learn more about the topic. To answer your question I think the impact of integrating video games into the current educational system would be positive thing, this journal although not up to date, is still very insightful to this topic (http://digitaljournal.com/article/253058). Unfortunately with changes in something as precious as education there are people against it, in the case of this article it is the teachers. Since then teachers have been more solid with the idea of using video games to introduce or teach new topics, and in no way ruin education.

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