Why Video Games Need To Be Part of Education Today
Today, we’d like to share a special-themed article written by Code Galaxy CEO, Marliis Reinkort. Below, she discusses the current state of the education system, how video games fit into the picture & how incorporating them into education can lead to many benefits.
Words By Marliis Reinkort:
Education is the basis of the development of any society. We have come a long way to achieve the level of intelligence that has allowed humans to create such high technology, which has become so essential and indispensable in our everyday life. All these great devices, such as phones, laptops, tablets, and consoles are the result of extraordinary innovation and hard work that we regularly use for both work and play.
For some reason, we have not kept up our educational system in line with our improvements in technology. I want to specifically talk about video games and how much this growing industry can contribute to complementing education.
In my opinion, video games need to be added as a regular part of the education system by 2025 to enhance students’ emotional and intellectual skills, which in turn will improve their academic achievements. “Video games, like any other technological device, are simply media through which young people engage in particular activities” (Aguilera & Alfonso, 2003). The problem with education these days is exactly as described – it is difficult to find a way to build engagement with students who are constantly claimed to be “distracted” by other, more interesting activities, such as playing video games.
Why then not acknowledge what the students really take pleasure in doing, and instead of trying to drag them apart from what they take pleasure in, in fact, create a solution around it?
The majority of educators have rarely if ever, played video games. Yet, they are strongly opinionated against them. The stigma that video games promote violence, sexism, and builds addictive behaviors is dominating the mainstream mindset (Aguilera & Alfonso, 2003). Research, however, shows the opposite. Gamers are found to be more observational, failure
resistant, critically thinking, resilient, team-oriented, and less stressed than non-gamers.
Video games also “hone spatial thinking, reasoning, memory, perception and problem-solving – all which come in handy for a wide range of careers” (Loo, 2014). We can learn through video games to be persistent.
To complete games, often we need to repeat the challenges over and over again before figuring out how to succeed (Leigh, 2018). Looking at games through positive lenses and focusing on their improvement opportunities, we can see how playing video games can truly have the ability to enhance learning abilities.
People enjoy playing video games because they are interactive and therefore highly engaging. Educating people at school has very much the same goal – to get students to participate and be present. Educators have increasing problems in achieving this objective, more so than ever, which is why now is the perfect time to start reforming the school system.
Eventually, video games should be added to all class standings. For the starting point, I would propose to begin with 5-8th grade students. This age range would benefit most of all from a video game-integrated education. They have the most difficult time staying engaged in a traditional classroom due to several factors that their age naturally induces.
The first step should be creating certain types of video games that have an educational context that we want to teach the students. The main areas to start with could be math, history, science, programming, and languages. At the moment we can already play several games that serve this purpose in some way. For example, “the wildly popular game Angry Birds is now teaching children basic coding principles” (Loo, 2014). There are also several math games and apps that challenge our math skills, which are fun to play while they enhance advanced mathematics.
The next step would be writing these video games into the school program and testing their effectiveness. It can either start with adding a couple of games into specific classes, or building a class around a certain game, which of course would have a clear objective of the educational outcome in mind. After this has been repeated a couple of rounds and the hypothesis proves true, we can see which way works better and implement the same method into more classes and expand to more facilities. It is like building an MVP, then taking the feedback, and improving it until we get the desired results. Such a large industry could and should be used to make the world better.
Indeed, so far video games are known primarily for their entertainment purposes. However, even without a precise goal to develop these intellectual and emotional skills in gamers, video games are already proven to be at the frontline in this matter. What if we would actually put effort into developing educational games that meet the objective for a certain subject that needs to be learned?
I believe that by deliberately focusing on integrating video games into the education system, step by step, we can start the process of reforming 21st-century education to fit our modern society.