Video Games for Change

Video Games for Change
 By Amy Bethea

Can video games serve as a driving tool for education? What I observe when it comes to learning and human development reveals that games are extremely useful educational tools. With video games becoming a mainstay component in entertainment for today’s youth, it is important that parents and educators harness and promote positive reinforcement of the gaming experience. Video games can compliment the traditional stand-and-deliver form of education by enriching children’s lives with improved opportunities for meaningful learning and the development of new skills, I have come up with important reasons why I believe video games are a necessary tool and should be used as a force for positive change in the education of children.
Engaging Practice
In order for children to progress in any endeavor, they must embark upon new experiences. Repetition and practice activities must be delivered in a fun way to help children benefit from these new experiences by retaining the important concepts learned. For practice to be meaningful, children must be engaged. As you know, traditional textbooks exercises cannot be used for this purpose, because the truth is­–they are not always interesting to a child. Thus, video games are becoming one of the preferred methods to help children gain new experiences and gain the practice they need.

Lifelong Skills
Playing video games can help children develop a plethora of important lifelong skills such as paying attention, critical thinking, creativity, sportsmanship and teamwork. For instance, video games are powerful tools for helping children master planning and problem-solving. Understanding game rules coupled with hands-on learning provides children with the chance to discover and exercise critical decision-making skills. Some games necessitate certain strategies in order to progress through different levels, and implementing various tactics. This type of mental exercise has been proven to advance brain development. Additionally, children may have the option to select and adjust character personalities, design and exchange maps or other custom content, helping them develop both creative and technical skills. Video games also provide educators with unique ways to supplement classroom teaching, while at the same time fostering the development of these crucial lifelong skills.
Positive Learning Memories
Research indicates that positive emotional connections facilitate learning retention. Video games have been proven to cause children to become happy and are associated with feelings of bliss, relief, personal pride, feeling emotionally close to another player, awe, curiosity and surprise. Therefore, these happy, fun and exciting moments will stand out in children’s memories for a lifetime, as they are helped to latch onto lifelong skills and new information.