The ability of video games to keep students’ attention, synthesize knowledge, and provide hours of practice on a variety of academic subjects without the need for human resources has attracted an increasing number of educators to the entertainment medium. The creators of Minecraft, for example, a game in which complex structures are built out of simple cubes, have created an educational version of the software. Students can be taught “mathematical concepts including perimeter, area, probabilities, as well as foreign languages.”
“Beyond teaching, video games can also offer useful information about how well a child is learning and can even provide helpful visual displays of that information… Video games can also provide instantaneous feedback—typically via scores—that teachers and students can use to determine how well students understand what the games are trying to teach them.”
One limitation of games seems to be their specific effect on the brain. While games can be very useful at increasing the memory capacity of children, as measured by a 2013 Cambridge University study, for example, those benefits did not extend to other areas such as their ability to grasp abstract concepts or express themselves in spoken or written language.
In his Big Think interview, Carnegie Mellon University professor Jesse Schell observes that there is a huge demand for video games to help improve people’s lives. Beyond the classroom, video games may act as life coaches for anyone who would like one:
Read more at Scientific American
Photo credit: Shutterstock