Video games have come an incredibly long way from their humble beginnings nearly 50 years ago. But since then, video games have also come under a lot of criticism in the news for the negative connotations with which they’ve come to be associated. Screen addiction, a lack of physical activity and the dangers of online strangers are all real problems that can stem from children playing video games if not monitored correctly. However, there are benefits to gaming that often get overlooked and this extends to their value in the classroom.
Video games are increasingly finding their way into schools – and for good reason. Too much time playing video games can have harmful consequences, but some studies show that just an hour a week can benefit a child’s development.
So, just what are the ways gaming can help develop children?
Problem-solving and memory – Puzzle games and other genres involving strategy encourage players to consider their decisions and focus on remembering the game’s mechanics.
Reading speed – Games needing quick reactions and decision-making can require players to read, think and act according to a game and help develop their concentration skills.
Physical benefits – Today, many games are more than just a controller connected to a screen. With the advent of games using technology like sensors and augmented reality (AR), games can be more engaging, interactive and physical than ever before.
This is on top of other great benefits such as improved social skills and broadening children’s creative ideas. But, in our opinion, the most exciting opportunity in respect to nearly all of these benefits is AR gaming.
Put simply, AR is an interactive experience where technology is used to place a computer-generated image into the real world. The technology uses the camera on your device to augment video, sound and graphics and then input them onto real-world objects.
There are already many great AR resources available to teachers and parents offering children an incredibly engaging yet very much educational experience. Simply by pointing a device’s camera at a surface, the creativity and scope for interactive learning via video games has been dramatically opened up. Physics simulators, city explorers, 3D organ models, coding puzzles – the list of current educational AR games is huge. And yet, we are just at the start of what we believe to be an endless list of opportunities to harness this technology for brilliant results inside the classroom.
If you haven’t yet considered video games in your classes, then also consider the added links you can build into your lessons from them. These activities allow for conversations surrounding coding and IT, safety online and around technology, and even discussions on how too much time playing video games can have unhealthy consequences. Asking children to track their screen time is just one great way to teach children about the importance of balanced, active lifestyles away from technology and also how to exercise restraint.
There are a whole host of different video games and AR experiences that are increasingly accessible and highly beneficial to children of all ages. Modern classrooms require modern teaching solutions and, with the salient perks of introducing educational video games, maybe you should consider welcoming gaming into your classroom, too.
Will Bond is an Education Writer for Twinkl.