Friday, March 9, 2012

The Power of Video Games




I was reading an article the other day about video games and how educators can learn a thing or two from video games when it comes to teaching. Here's an excerpt from the article "Games Help Kids Turn Failure into Learning":
One of the reasons video games are so compelling is that you fail a bunch of times before you "win." Without the struggle there's little satisfaction. You try, find out right away that you failed, adjust and repeat the process likely several more times. And when you finally figure it out, it feels pretty good. That’s because the brain’s reward center provides a satisfying dopamine hit to help validate the effort. We could call this failure-adjustment loop “learning,” and fundamentally it's nothing new. Thoughtful (and not so thoughtful) trial-and-error is a tried and true mechanism for learning across the animal kingdom and always has been. Well-designed video games, though, provide a vehicle for really focusing and scaling learning through failure in lots of disciplines.
As we are in development of creating games, albeit Math-related games, for Abacus Prodigy, we have to tread very carefully between having the child learn through wanting to challenge the game's difficulty level and wanting to get better scores to simply having fun. We all know how addictive gaming can be but I feel that gaming in the right environment can help trigger children to push themselves harder to do better without even realizing it. What are your thoughts on allowing children to play video games in the name of education?

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