Rationale and Importance
Gaming in Education: What Students Can Learn From Video Games in School
As new teachers enter the workforce with greater technology familiarity than their predecessors, a wider margin of accepted teaching methods has developed, changing the way in which educators are able to form successful instructional relationships with their students. Many districts, in order to help faculty keep pace with their rapidly changing and technologically capable student bodies, are attempting to alter their most well established modes of erudition (namely lecture, discussion, co-operative group, and hands-on learning); as a result, there has been a continuing trend in the reduction of teacher reliance on textbooks and an upswing in the incorporation of classroom media across all levels of the education system. These changes, primarily serving to accommodate the vast increase in computer reliance for day-to-day tasks and the need for students to develop team-based collaboration skills, have led educators to begin more deeply investigating the potential benefits of video game-based pedagogy. Games, unlike textbooks and more traditional forms of direct instruction, may more thoroughly afford students the opportunity to integrate their learning of subject matter with the 21st century leadership skills necessary for success in academia, law, the armed forces, and private industry. However, as video games are examined with increased scrutiny, there remains little consensus on the benefits and detriments of applying them to the classroom environment. In some circles, games are seen not only as a useful tool in encouraging student motivation to learn outside of the academic environment (Coller & Scott, 2009), but also as a means to increase student engagement during in-class learning sessions (Annetta et al, 2009), foster valuable skills with respect to finite tasks or jobs (Duque et al, 2008; Coller & Scott, 2009; de Freitas & Griffiths, 2007), and improve upon visual acuity, spatial recognition, contrast sensitivity, visuomotor coordination, and general intelligence (Spence & Feng 2010; Caplovitz & Kastner, 2009); Achtman, Green, & Bavelier, 2008; Quiroga et al, 2009). Conversely, detractors contend that games, at best, produce no statistically significant change in skill acquisition (Annetta et al, 2009) and, at worst, produce negative effects on academic motivation and success with relation to several common measures of learning (such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), student grade point averages (GPAs), and academic testing of both reading and writing skills) (Anand, 2007; Weis & Cerankosky, 2010). There has been ample demonstration, too, that addiction tendencies have a consistent, negative correlation with the implementation of game-based learning due to select groups of students developing a compulsion to obsess over games themselves (Skoric, Teo, & Neo, 2009). The schism in understanding video games and their role in education, broadly painting them as both aids and distractions, indicates that the usefulness of this media will ultimately rest on how parents and educators utilize it in a scholastic context (Gentile, 2010). The most succinct way to frame this muddled amalgamation of perspectives on educational gaming comes from Robert Gentile’s 2010 work, in which he described the influence of gaming on student learning as “not an either-or proposition; games can haveboth positive and negative consequences, and which consequences researchers find depends on what they are testing” (pp. 71). The major discrepancy in the educational literature seems to lie within the definition of what constitutes a video game and how any one game’s effectiveness can be accurately measured compared to another. Not surprisingly, this miscommunication has led designers and educators to often take for granted the notion that students will enjoy a video game purely because it is called a game, unintentionally ignoring or overlooking...
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