With so much attention given to why kids shouldn’t spend so much time video gaming, the many benefits are often overlooked. Of course, playing games to the exclusion of all else can be extremely detrimental to both emotional and physical development, the same can be said of anything that would be healthy in moderation. Food is a great example!
Kids need certain nutrients to grow and stay healthy but eating in excess of the daily recommended number of calories can lead to obesity. So, it is with gaming. Gaming in moderation and monitored within a classroom setting can foster amazing mental and emotional growth. However, kids left to their own devices and without adult supervision can be adversely affected. With that in mind, it helps to understand at least these three benefits of video gaming in the classroom.
1. Disguised Lessons & Experiential Learning
Some teachers have found that video gaming enables them to teach lessons their students would otherwise find boring. Many would zone out before the major concepts of the lessons were introduced and try as they might, teachers couldn’t make it through to all but a few diligent students who actually wanted to learn more, even if it meant sitting through the sleepy-time bits.
With a Lenovo Ryzen 7 Computer with amazing graphics and CPU speeds, for example, teachers can teach history and geography with a few games and Google Maps. Some teachers use the 360-degree view within Google Maps to view some of the most historical sites in the world. This is extremely helpful when learning about the great pyramids. Kids are challenged in a game sort of like a treasure hunt. When they reach their destination, they get to explore it with 3-D views from every direction with the 360-degree feature in Maps. It’s amazing what kids learn without even realizing they’ve just been taught an entire unit in their social studies book!
2. Learning by Failing
One of the reasons why so many children don’t succeed in a classroom setting is because of their fear of failing. Video games can provide a safe way to get over that obstacle. In most games they can fail again and again until they finally get it right. Working their way through a maze, for instance, is one way to help them learn that failure is just a lesson in learning.
One game mentioned often is called Burnout and it is a game that actually makes it fun to fail. Kids keep crashing their automobiles until they accrue a large number of points. The more spectacular the crash, the higher the points they collect. While students are not told to purposely crash, when they do and see those points rack up, they are excited enough to try again. When they finally reach the end without crashing, they are awarded the winning points. They have just learned to learn by failing!
3. Engagement and Complex Concepts
One of the main reasons why so many students are not making it through the newly legislated STEM courses is they have a difficult time learning the prerequisites such as calculus. When it comes to learning the periodic table, an even greater number of students fail at memorizing the entire table of elements.
Pokémon has been suggested as the basis for games that teach kids to memorize huge amounts of information by building on what they’ve previously learned. This is how they win Pokémon and how they can learn complex amounts of information. What can be more fun than getting an education with Pokémon?