Video Games for Fun and Learning

Most teachers would likely agree that the best way to teach students is to keep them engaged. And probably all would agree that video games certainly keep kids engaged. So melding the two seems like a sure way to improve students' comprehension and even eagerness to learn. Can video games change the face of conventional teaching?

game

A Positive Impact on Learning

Physics. Biology. Literacy. History. Calculus. These are just a few of the subjects students can learn, and in some cases are learning, through video games. While no one is quite ready to say that these games can or will replace conventional learning methods, many are beginning to understand that they can certainly, and successfully, be used as supplemental aids.

While the negative influences of video games have long been discussed and debated, other studies have shown that playing video games can result in improved fine motor, thinking and problem-solving skills. Arizona State University professor James Gee, an expert on video games and learning, states that video games are inherent to problem-solving, decision-making and collaboration. And at a New York University conference in 2010, even violent video games were acknowledged for strengthening vision and memory.

Video games, some say, can help students visualize concepts they might otherwise have trouble comprehending. In one Nintendo DS game in a series called Possible Worlds, for instance, students personify the sun and break apart and re-assemble air and water molecules as a way to defeat enemies and move through levels. This rather simple game can help them to better understand the process of photosynthesis. And middle-school students can develop a better understanding of pre-algebra when they play an online game called Lure of the Labyrinth.

The impact of visual stimulation as a learning method may be difficult to ignore. Online college-level simulations in physics have been used at some middle and high schools for several years, leading to more active learning and participation despite advanced language and other obstacles. New and modified simulations for a younger audience are currently being developed.

Test Runs and Test Scores

In addition to the Possible Worlds series, other games have already been designed for, and tested in, educational settings. The mobile-based UbiqBio, designed by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was recently tested at a few Boston-area high schools. Biology teachers at the schools used the UbiqBio games as homework assignments, with many students playing beyond the 10-20 minutes assigned. While the jury is still out as far as the game's impact on comprehension, the fact that students found the format appealing was enough to convince some teachers that such an approach to learning would be successful.

When it comes to proving the impact of video games on learning, can the proof be in the pudding, so to speak? Take the eighth-grade Long Island, New York science class that recently played a Possible Worlds game over two class periods. The result? Better scores on end-of-unit tests for those who played the game compared to those who did not.

Perhaps in light of such success stories, some schools are turning to game-based software to help prepare students for tests. Some schools in California, including those in Oakland and San Jose, are designing pilot programs using such software to help students prepare for the ACT and SAT in addition to AP History and Calculus exams.

The bottom line? Video games targeting educational topics combine two things most students might have once thought impossible: fun and learning.

No more making book covers out of old paper bags? Find out how Indiana schools are turning to digital technology to replace traditional textbooks.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
      • DBA in Management
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Georgetown University

    Georgetown University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Georgetown University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Louisiana State University Shreveport responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Louisiana State University Shreveport:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. Next »