Positive Effects Of Video Games On Learning

900 words - 4 pages

Nowadays, video games are frequently accused of having detrimental effects on children and adolescents. The main arguments against video games are that they lead to addiction, that they provoke violence, and that they impair social development. Whether or not such claims are true has not been determined with certainty as scientific studies have produced contradictory results (“Video game controversies”). Nevertheless, video games also have beneficial effects, which tend to be underrated, as they do not receive the same level of media coverage that adverse ones do, and are thus unknown to the general public. Some of the positive effects of playing video games on mental development include: ...view middle of the document...

The game places players in a wagon train heading west. As the train travels through towns, trading posts and natural landmarks, participants learn about American geography. Players need to regularly purchase food and supplies, which teaches them about the economy and the material culture of the 1800s. And as they struggle to keep their virtual family alive while facing diseases, mishaps, and ambushes, players learn about the challenges of those times. The game does not require fast reactions or great ingenuity but it heavily stresses on the difficult choices the western settlers had to make every day. There is no single path to victory or defeat – every decision players make influences the fate of the colonists they control in some way (Brown 117-18).
There is ample instructor testimony and scientific research supporting the claim that video games can augment learning. Tim Rylands, a teacher at Chew Magna School in Somerset, observed how playing the adventure puzzle game Myst with his students stimulated their creativity and boosted their literacy skills. Tim also noted that his pupils improved their English test scores and became much more willing to write. In many video games, reading is a crucial part of the gameplay and is incorporated in forms such as scattered volumes in Myst. Writing is also a key gameplay aspect of video games, especially online ones. Constance Steinkuehler, a games researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote her master thesis on Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) and when she examined the game Lineage, she found out that many of the activities in the game involve a great deal of writing. Mathematics appears in video games as well. Steinkuehler discovered that games, such as World of Warcraft often engaged players in theorycrafting (the mathematical analysis of game mechanics which aims to maximize player effectiveness)...

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