THE EVOLUTION OF VIDEO GAMES FROM ENTERTAINMENT TO EDUCATION

What’s so special about video games is that it has infiltrated almost every aspect of today’s society.  To name a few, there are esports for competitive gaming, positive health benefits for gaming, and educational gaming. Video games now are now being widely utilized for multiple purposes. It wasn’t always this way and was just considered entertainment for only younger kids.

 The history

Before the video game industry was about to be born,  the first computer game was made and shared in the classroom. The Oregon Trail was the first game to be experienced by students and teachers in 1971. It helped students learn and discover more about that part of history. It was a fun and interactive way of engagement at that time.  Shortly after, Pong was made which helped kickstart the video game boom and the Golden years of gaming.  Then game developers started making more games for learning as well.  Games such as “Math blasters” and “Where is Carmen Sandiego” were adored by kids and adults. More recently, the Assassin’s Creed series by Ubisoft incorporated “The Discovery Tour” where they take the player on a journey to past ancient lands, cities, and people to learn about historical civilizations.

There are educational games that are used by students to this day, but they are few.  Even with our technology exponentially advancing, many schools are not utilizing this medium in their classrooms.  It could be that many teachers have no knowledge or interest in using these types of games in their learning curriculum.  Some may even harbor the old myth that video games are not helpful to kids and will hinder their growth. Teachers and schools should take a second look. Let’s look at the benefits that students can have when using game technology

The benefits

Do you remember your Five Senses and learning about those in school? Studies have shown that using multiple senses of the body can help improve learning.  These senses include touch, sight, and hearing.  These senses can trigger responses that can help students retain information better than just reading and writing alone. Most players use the three senses mentioned above.

Problem-solving skills can be a really good benefit from video games in the classroom.  If the game is multiplayer, teamwork can be a good skill to build in this scenario/area as well as communication skills.  With good teamwork and communication from fellow students, eventually bonds wills will form and healthy relationships in the classroom.  Video games can be a big help in enhancing the reward system… For example: when a student gets a score in a game, it will motivate them to get a better score.  Learning to fail, motivation and perseverance are also things that students can learn from video games.

Educational and Fun

Students will do well learning these skills, especially at a younger age.  The earlier and more consistent that they learn these concepts, the better they will be off when they are older and well on into their adult life.  That’s what educational video games can do for kids and more. Let’s encourage more adults and teachers to embrace this technology instead of leaning on outdated stereotypes of the harmfulness of games.  There’s a lot of fun learning to be had.

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