Too much time spent playing video games! It might seem like a time-waster. But, kids who play video games can improve their focus and problem-solving skills, boost creativity and even reduce stress. Playing is great, but video game design is an even better way to channel your kid’s love of the game into a learning opportunity and a real career path.
Dr. James Paul Gee, a professor at Arizona State University and leading authority on literature and educational games, gave a talk at the Learning and Brain Conference. Dr. Gee spoke about several ways in which video games are good for learning. And if we know that play games is good for learning, but coding and designing video games is even better!
7 Ways Playing and Designing Video Games are Good for Learning
1. They Feed the Learning Process – the best experiences have motivation, clear goals, interpreted outcomes, and immediate and copious feedback. Video games have all these components.
2. They Build on Experience – with every new level, the knowledge and expertise picked up in previous levels can be applied to a new experience. This is a fundamental part of leaning.
3. They Encourage Risk-Taking – if the cost of failure is too high, students won’t try. If the cost is lower, like in video games, kids will continually rethink new tactics if something isn’t working.
4. Play Games and Evaluate Gameplay – in our camps kids are encouraged to play each other’s video games, offer feedback, suggestions, and encouragement.
5. Create with Code – Coding is a big part of game design, especially for those who want to take a bigger role in creating their own games.
6. Kids learn to become Storytellers – Storytelling acts as a vital mechanism for driving gameplay forward.
7. Practice Makes Perfect – building many games will help learn what works and what does not. By letting others evaluate the games and gain feedback will be helpful in the long run.
See the New Learning in Action
Now, if you doubt kids learn from playing video games, sit down with them and ask them to walk you through how to complete a level. Likely, they will walk you through, step by step. They’ll provide you with detail and insights you never would have gotten on your own. Then ask them to explain a Math, Science, or English concept. While they may be able to do both, it is likely that the level of excitement and detail will be lacking from the traditional learning model.
We see the excitement of this new way to learn time and again with the kids in our summer camps. The amazing thing about our camps is kids don’t just use this new way to learn they get to create it for themselves. In STEM camps like ours, kids get to develop their own video games rather than just playing one of the thousands developed by someone else. All of this makes me very optimistic about our children’s future.