Spread Fame To the Games

Allyssa Gauer, Columnist

As the future becomes the present, the world has had to progress with it. Advancements in knowledge have lead to new and improved technology and purposes of these devices. It is fairly obvious that technology has its pros and cons; it is known that these tools can be used for evil as well as for good. Video games are a major technological leisure activity in society, and what some people may not know is that these games can be used for more than just entertainment; in fact, they can serve a role in helping the education process. This theory consisting of the use of games to teach a lesson is an interesting concept, and if utilized correctly, could yield a phenomenal output. Thus, schools should promote the usage of video games for educational duties.

To start off, some lesson plans can easily bore the students, and this decreases the amount of information learned. According to The Washington Post, 65 percent of the students they surveyed announced that they were bored during class. This brings up the problem of how to keep the students engaged in the topic they’re learning. The solution: video games. Time states that when a person participates in a video game, they are “wholeheartedly engaged in creative challenges.” It doesn’t take much research to discover that videogames are especially popular with older children and teens. Coincidentally, that is the age group of the students who were surveyed and replied they didn’t enjoy their classes. Now the challenge becomes finding the right educational game to improve the students learning.

You want to find a game that can teach students more than one subject at a time, so that the students can learn a variety of lessons outside of the curriculum as well as inside. As said in Engadget, many games can improve logical thinking, problem solving, coordination, memory, multitasking skills, and focus. These all gradually improve throughout the course of playing certain games, and can easily be obtained with any topic discussed. For example, say a teacher or professor is attempting to teach a group of students a new formula in math and decides to use a video game to teach this, such as a website, where you can score points based on the amount of answers that were correct. This not only improves their knowledge of that particular formula, but it also teaches them patience if they get the answer wrong, and perseverance to try again. A good example of this is the well-known game Kahoot, where students compete in questions created by teachers or other students and gain points, where the top five in the game are on a leaderboard. The competition also engages the students further, according to ThinkFun, and encourages the determination to finish.

Another example is teaching stories through a game. The ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism is pioneering in such a field, and their students are learning to design video games to address and inform their audience on global and local issues. A BBC study showed that after people played Super Mario 3D for 30 minutes per day for two months, the prefrontal cortex expanded. This is the part of the brain that controls time management and organization. All of these basic yet critical skills are gained and grow because of lessons supplemented by these games.

Video games go beyond merely expanding the brain; they have been proven to aid in treating mental health and disorders. As stated in Huffington Post, video games can actually alleviate depression at a faster pace. The creativity involved in solving the puzzles of the game can engage one’s mind and distract them from his or her depression for an amount of time. Rewards earned during video games also release dopamine, which those suffering from depression often lack. Depression is also helped because of the teamwork involved in a game, according to BBC. This doesn’t just have to be World of Warcraft or random games; they could be educational too. For instance, the educator could assign a group to work together to figure out an answer to a jeopardy question, and they would be improving their teamwork skills,an essential skill for the future. The Huffington Post explains that fast paced games can advance reading skills, especially with those who struggle with dyslexia. The words that pop up quickly force the gamer to read through the lines and understand in an instant.

The internet also creates an environment to practice intense scenarios. Both BBC and Huffington Post affirm the idea of using virtual reality to help doctors-in-training. This virtual reality, in a way, is saving lives. The doctors are able to practice on a non-living organism and can perfect the surgery without the pressure of someone’s life hanging on their shoulders.Virtual reality could be useful for any student. Think about it: high school students could experience a virtual reality of college or of having a job, and be prepared when the time actually comes. They could also experience events in world history, or play around with “crime scenes” in their forensics classes. With all this, there is still the possibility of a hacker changing the virtual environment, and this can be quite frightening to the participants. Of course, nothing compares to a real life scenario, but virtual reality could help and improve confidence by being well prepared.

Video games and whether they are presented as good or bad is an incredibly controversial topic, surrounded by many opinions. One strong opinion, especially pressing with all the current violence, is the assumption that video games provokes that violence. There is a belief that some may not be able to separate virtual reality from actual reality, and this causes huge problems like mass shootings and burglaries. To make the assumption that video games are the cause is unjust as implied in Science News For Students. It presented an opinion from James Gee, a professor at the University of Wisconsin that read, “You get a group of teenage boys who shoot up a school—of course they’ve played video games,” Gee says. “Everyone does. It’s like blaming food because we have obese people.” This statement couldn’t be more true. It describes that most people within their life have come into contact with a video game, and it’s not right to jump to conclusions with the thought of the games being the cause. Another opinion is that technology is a major distraction to all ages and has a tendency to cut people off from any other topic and even becomes addicting. There is a simple solution to this: just establish rules to prevent students from using websites and games that have not been approved by the teacher. Educators can use apps or programs, such as Go Guardian, to make their job easier. The same applies to whether a game is considered inappropriate or not.

Opening up practice for the future, boosting critical skills such as focus and teamwork, constantly engaging the students, and assisting those with mental disorders and health are all reasons educators all across the globe should be promoting the usage of games to instruct important life lessons.