Monday, February 18, 2013

Video Games and Education

So playing a video game every week, has really been hard for me to set aside time, since I don't watch TV and feel to some extent that besides having fun I am not learning anything. Being a senior in college I sometimes get caught up in thinking of the Homework I need to do and the applications that I should be filling out while walking through the magical world of Harry Potter. It reminds me of the age old question of whether kids should be playing video games or not.

Playing Harry Potter on the Wii, I am not sure if it could be called practical or educational, but the more I played the more I could think of examples. In the game the player learns about a world that is governed by right and wrong. In Harry's world these objects are clear, there is an evil wizard and a good one and the good one ends up winning in the end. There are also clear missions that have to be completed, taking patience, and critical thinking. One could learn how to think the best way to solve a problem and apply it, as well as thinking on your feet. Sometimes things happen without explanation and I have to try and figure the best way out of it, which is important in real life situations as well.

This also got me thinking about other ways that video games are used. People that play video games have better hand eye coordination and reflexes. There have been studies published on the positive effects of playing video games, players also have better spatial reasoning skills, which may be helpful when teaching children or trying to find the best way to teach a child.

I have also used a Wii gaming system myself when I had very bad post concussion syndrome. Wii has balance games that you can play while standing on the balance board. My balance had been affected so badly that my center of gravity was off and my doctor recommended playing these games. It was very hard at first, but definitely worth it, it helped me a lot, and helped me work my brain so that I got healthier each day. Studies have also been published recording the positive effects of using these games with stroke patients.

I volunteered all last year at a nursing home and one of their favorite things to do was play Wii bowling. It was hard for them as well as got them thinking differently and created some friendly competition. It was a way to get them up and moving while still keeping them in a safe environment, it was so much fun.

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