Benefits of Integrating Video Games Into School-Based Learning

Topics: Video game, Video game industry, Game Pages: 9 (2859 words) Published: April 21, 2011
Jennifer Adams

Prof. Flanagan

ENC 1101


The Benefits of Integrating Video Games into

School-Based Learning

As a result of the stigmatization video games have received, many people view them as nothing more than entertainment at best and harmful to a child’s development at worst, neither side realizing the hidden assets of video games in relation to learning. For the terms of this argument, video games will be defined as any electronic or computerized game played via a game console, computer or hand-held device. It is unfortunate that the benefits of these games are not largely recognized, especially within the public school system, as the methods used in teaching today’s youth are outdated and are becoming less effective, creating the need for a different methodology. The purpose of this research is to show that although there have been claims of negative repercussions linked to video game play, there is little evidence to support such claims, and that the use of video games can actually help to create the optimum learning environment for children. Integration of game-based teaching into schools could provide a multitude of positive results including an increase in enthusiasm towards learning, greater memory retention and heightened cognitive skills. It is crucial that the school system starts to recognize the numerous benefits which can be obtained from video games; with proper use and approach, electronic gaming is the key to ensuring the children of today will be successful in the modernized world of tomorrow.

From the advent of electronic media, the argument that it is detrimental to a child’s brain and social development has been made, yet there is very little evidence that the media itself is to blame for any of the negative effects associated with such games. Physicist David Deutsch poses the question, “Why do so many adults hate [video games]? What evidence is there that there is anything bad about them?” (54). A great deal of research has been conducted in an attempt to prove video games are the cause of a variety of adverse effects in children. However, the results have been less than sufficient to prove such claims, and usually show little more than a correlation between gameplay and a specific negative result. For example, a study conducted by Philip A. Chan and Terry Rabinowitz attempted to find a link between video game play and symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Chan and Rabinowitz hypothesized that playing video games creates a chain reaction: increased symptoms of ADHD which affect performance and behavior in school, resulting in a lower grade point average and adverse social consequences. Although the study did link video game play and increased symptoms of ADHD, as with much research on this subject, it did not take into account environmental factors that may also contribute to such symptoms and concluded that “it is unclear whether playing video games for more than one hour leads to an increase in ADHD symptoms, or whether adolescents with ADHD symptoms spend more time on video games” (Chan and Rabinowitz 33). This study is an incontrovertible example of how evidence shows only a correlation between video games and a specific adverse effect. As with most studies in its genre, it is not definitive proof of causation, which leaves room for doubt as to whether video games contribute to such symptoms at all.

Another example of the stigmatization placed on video games is the claim that the sedentary hours spent in front of a television or computer screen are contributing to the growing problem of childhood obesity. In his article “Playing Video Games Benefits Children,” Deutsch writes, “I spent a lot of time playing with Lego when I was a child. […] it never occurred to my parents that […] this was bad for me” (56). Indulging in video games is typically viewed as inactive time which could be spent engaged in physical...

Cited: Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. New
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Haugen, David M., ed. Video Games. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008. Print.
Simpson, Elizabeth S. “What Teachers Need to Know About the Video Game Generation.”
TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning 49.5 (2005): 17-22.
Steinkuehler, Constance and Sean Duncan. “Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds.”
Journal of Science Education and Technology 10.1007 (2008): 350-353
Willis, Laurie, ed. Video Games. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Print.
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