We hear it all the time: video games are bad for kids. They're making us fat, stupid, and slow. They stunt our vision, ruin us for social interactions, and take time away from valuable pursuits like physical activities and homework.
These ideas have become so pervasive that I even have students in my class proudly inform me that they "don't play video games because they would rather be doing stuff than staring at a screen." And that's a perfectly valid perspective -- ANYTHING in excess is problematic, and video games are certainly not an exception. Kids absolutely should be reading books, playing with their friends, and engaging in physical activity.
But that doesn't mean video games are the monsters society sometimes crafts them to be. I've been watching a lot of videos on the subject lately, and here are three that just might help you convince people that video games are not only acceptable, but possibly even -- gasp! -- beneficial.
1. Your Brain on Action Games by Daphne Bavelier
Daphne Bavelier meticulously lays out the scientific evidence for playing action based video games: action games, she argues, improve vision, result in increased ability to multitask, and make us more perceptive and aware. It's hard to argue with science based results like these!
2. James Paul Gee on Learning With Video Games
This one's not actually a TED Talk, just games based learning guru James Paul Gee on some of the reasons video games are awesome learning tools. James Paul Gee is responsible for one of the more compelling arguments I've ever heard about how we learn: he compares trying to read a video game manual before playing a game to reading it after, and points out that what seems an incomprehensible jumble before makes perfect sense after. Could a textbook, he suggests, be the same?
3. School Mods: Gaming the Educational System by Jonathan Schenker
Finally, here's a great opportunity to hear from a young person, a student himself, about why video games are excellent supplements -- or indeed, even core materials -- for teaching the curriculum. Schenker's points are not particularly revolutionary, but hearing them from the perspective of a student making his way through high school is a powerful experience!
Question of the Day:
Why do you use video games in your classroom -- or, if you don't, why not?
For me, I use video games for a multitude of purposes. They increase engagement, they allow students to work at their own pace, they eliminate the penalty of failure, and they often do a better job of illustrating a concept than I ever could, just to name a few!Tweet
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