Video games may teach more than you think


Story by Joseph Moronez
Staff Writer

Video games are known by parents and teachers as a waste of time and for killing brain cells.

What they may not know, however, is that video games teach players problem solving, help students stay motivated, show them clear goals and give them feedback on accomplishments.

According to presentation by Dr. James Paul Gee, a professor at Arizona State University, at the Learning and Brain Conference, games can teach more skills than some classes.

“When it comes to problem-solving, research shows that if you teach and test facts and formulas, students learn facts and formulas,” Dr. Gee said. “This doesn’t correlate to solving problems.”

He also stated at the conference that if teachers teach problem solving then the student learns problem solving skills and facts.

“In math all you learn is formulas such as radius and area,” junior Cristian Martinez said. “This creates a problem for me and some of friends only allowing for one answer problems.”

Another study has shown if you teach a student formulas and facts and teach them on it, that’s is what they know. They won’t know how to create problem solving tactics because what they learned is based on formulas and facts.

Studies have shown that playing video games can teach motivation to the players because the goal is to get to the next checkpoint. You have to motivate yourself to find a way to get their showing that the player learns clear goals and interpret outcomes.

“When I play games such as Call of Duty the goal to me is to beat the game on veteran which can anger me,” senior Chris Morales said. “It’s really difficult to beat it, but the feeling and triumph I get when I beat it makes it worth it.”

According to the article, the system forces teachers to teach to the test, while video games have a different way of thinking about those assessment which we simply don’t need them.

An example from the article “Ten Surprising Truths about Video Games and learning” compares a student learning algebra for 12 weeks and somebody playing Halo on legendary.

When kids play games, it’s because they are fun, interesting, and make them solve issues in creative ways. When a student doesn’t like a subject, such as math, it’s usually because it’s not interesting or it lacks creativity so they are not motivated to learn, the article said.

In addition, according to the article, playing video games allows players to take risks because they have unlimited lives and can learn new ways to beat the level or game. In school, risks are not recommended because they can conflict with what colleges students may want to go.

“When I played Halo 4 on legendary, you learn patience and try to find different ways to beat the game,” junior Frank Vierra said. “When I play it I die a lot so I learn new ways to try to pass the part I’m stuck at.”