Video games can have a multitude of visual benefits, which also includes the ability to strengthen a so-called ‘lazy eye’.
Gaming has often been treated as the antithesis of learning and been mentioned by some, particularly parents, in the same breath as video nasties and other no-nos when it comes to learning and looking after children. However, it has been suggested that this is little more than prejudice and, in fact, gaming can actually aid in learning, and you need not fear if your children are gamers.
Learning by Doing
First of all, using gaming can make learning more engaging. This is because learning through doing, or, in teaching parlance, kinesthetic learning, will lead to greater retention of information, and will engage students who were formerly not participating in classroom activities. This stands to reason, as educational orthodoxy for the last couple of decades has encouraged teachers to use students’ own interests in the classroom, and this is merely a logical extension of this idea.
Games for Brains
Computer games can also have cognitive benefits, and improve visual processing. For example, games can strengthen the areas of the brain that are responsible for skills such as spatial awareness, and games can have a multitude of visual benefits, which also includes the ability to strengthen a so-called ‘lazy eye’.
Pay Attention: Play Games
Gaming, despite what many think, can also help to improve and sustain attention, which can obviously benefit learning. Due to the fact that most games are pretty fast-paced and involve concentrating very hard on the problem at hand, gaming can actually improve concentration levels and lengthen attention span, and video games have increasingly been used as a form of treatment for attention disorders such as ADHD, and their effectiveness has been backed up by a number of empirical studies.
Gaming Can Aid in Groupwork
Likewise, most educators accept that learning is a social activity, and that cooperative learning will increase engagement, allow students to learn more quickly and also to learn from their peers. Video games can facilitate this, as games often necessitate communication and working together. This valuable skills can be utilized in learning in the classroom, but it is also a lesson in itself.
The Bottom Line
We are obviously not advocating the complete taking over of the classroom by computers, in a kind of sci-fi nightmare that we imagine would leave teachers walking up from nightmares in a cold sweat.
However, neither do we think that the education system, and learning in general, can fail to take into account the society that we live in, and the increasing technical literacy of the ‘digital natives’ in our classroom.
Most learners will use technology every day, will have a mobile device that they take everywhere and will understand the language of games and their value. It would be a shame to discount the validity of things such as this just because of some bad experiences in the past and, let’s face it, in some cases mere blind prejudice.