How Video Games Can Develop Your Child’s Learning
It’s no secret that kids love video games. It’s also no secret that many parents consider the hours spent playing games as wasted time. Some fear their child’s learning will be negatively affected by this hobby.
The good news is that video games can be used to enhance learning and impart valuable skills. Quality video games played in moderation can be powerful educational tools.
Gaming can help children develop the following skills:
Memory & Concentration
Attention spans have declined in the digital age. Kids read fewer books than past generations, and teachers claim that many students find it difficult to focus for extended periods. Video and computer games are blamed for this decline, but the truth is games require focus, concentration and memory.
Players must remember complex rules, find hidden objects and follow storylines. Games can be played over days, weeks or even months. Rather than inhibiting memory and concentration, gaming can help students develop these important skills.
At the heart of many video games is a problem to be solved. Players must overcome obstacles and come up with strategies to get what they want. This allows them to experiment with different solutions and learn to think in more creative and abstract ways. Practicing problem solving through gaming can help students become more confident in the classroom.
Reading & Comprehension
One frequent criticism of video games is that they prevent students reading, but a 2008 study by Pew Internet Research refuted this view. The study found that gamers spend a lot of time reading texts such as instructions, reviews, fan forums and strategy websites. Rather than replacing reading, video games can enhance literacy skills.
Most students will use computers extensively in their future jobs. They will need to learn new applications quickly, make decisions and communicate with others online. Gaming helps students to become adaptable, resourceful and aware of internet etiquette. Simulation games allow kids to try out different careers.
Video games can help students develop empathy by allowing them to interact with other young people from around the world. Headsets allow participants to talk to each other as they play, providing opportunities to share ideas and learn about each other. While any contact with people online should be treated with caution, the friendships and connections forged through gaming are important to kids.
Historical games like Civilization are rich sources of information. Students don’t even realise how much they are learning about the past as they play. Some games are entirely based around significant events, making them excellent resources for teaching history.
Creativity & Imagination
Creativity is essential for academic success, but due to peer pressure, students tend to shun imaginative play when they reach adolescence. Video games allow kids to continue using their imagination as they inhabit make believe worlds, engage in heroic quests and build entire cities from scratch. Children who use their imagination will be more engaged and eager to learn new things.
The key to healthy gaming for kids is quality and moderation.