Teaching and learning is forever evolving and changing. In the last few decades, the tools used by teachers have changed from blackboards and chalk, to rudimentary PCs, to a new tool that is taking the teaching world by storm: video games, as much research has shown that video games can aid learning.
One way in which gaming can improve learning is by improving cognitive function. Evidence has shown that gaming can strengthen certain areas of your brain and promote the growth of grey matter in areas associated with problem solving and memory, which can clearly aid learning.
Visual Processing Skills
Gaming can also improve visual processing skills. This is because gaming requires constant attention and being able to discern subtle shifts in the action. This is invaluable in the classroom. In fact, research has shown that gaming can help to improve the performance of a lazy eye, and can also improve the concentration of those who have attention disorders such as ADHD.
As you will probably guess, most educational research suggests that learning is more likely to take place if the learner is engaged in a kinesthetic task, or if they are truly engrossed in what they are doing. By making gaming a learning experience, your learners will be more engaged and thus be more focused and learn more. Many authorities suggest that those who play online games perform better in Maths and English, perhaps due to the intellectual nature of many of these games. However, we do not want to get carried away: causation isn’t necessarily correlation.
Find a Way
If you are a teacher or an educator, please don’t get carried away. Don’t go out and buy an Xbox for each of your students, and a Nintendo Wii each for your own kids. However, perhaps think about the benefits of gaming, and the reasons why gaming could improve learning. And perhaps think about how you could incorporate it into your practice.
To find out more about the ways in which games can promote learning, see the infographic from our partners at Computer Planet.