Guess what? A study shows games are good

munch munch munch So I just spent the better part of an hour looking through a study conducted by Project Tomorrow.

The study (pdf here) is all about technology and its effects on the wee ones. Not the Wii ones… just so we’re clear. Basically it covers those from grades K-12 (students, teachers, and parents) and their likes and dislikes about the restrictions and freedoms of technology in and out of the classroom. Did you follow all that? Good. Lets move on.

The most interesting facts (and most relevant to this site) were the ones in the electronic gaming section. Putting aside the fact that 64% of the students said they played "online and/or electronics based games regularly" I was way more interested to learn how many students and teachers wanted to bring gaming into the classroom.

51% of students thought games in class would "make it easier to understand difficult concepts" and 50% thought they would "be more engaged in the subject." When more than half of your students are yearning for a new way to learn, things need to start happening. Especially when nearly half (46%) of the students said they would probably learn more about the subject with the help of a game.

I certainly condone games in class. I remember in third grade going to the computer lab and playing Number Munchers to help with math, and Word Munchers to help with… English? I don’t really remember Word Munchers too much. By 5th grade we had 4 computers in our classroom and we played Gizmos and Gadgets and Oregon Trail.

Obviously we could only play the games after our in-class work was done and playing those games, while a welcome break from reading the social studies textbook, was still learning. I learned all about physics and aerodynamics in Gizmos and Gadgets. And I learned how to look up strange diseases, like typhoid and dysentery, in Oregon Trail. Not really sure what else Oregon Trail had to offer by way of learning.

Movies and television programs are used in classrooms with out question. Games, on the other hand, seem to be harder to come by. Which when you think about it makes no sense. You interact with videogames. You can try things and learn and progress with the computer. A film just teaches at you. If you’re not getting it it’s too late because the film has already moved on.

I guess my school was pretty progressive with their Apple IIe computer lab. Because while 65% of teachers polled are interested in using games to help people learn but only 11% are using games in their lesson. More teachers need to take the initiative and seek out the games that will help their students. I’ll say this I wouldn’t still know all the multiples of three if it weren’t for Number Munchers, that is a fact I stand firmly by.

[via Network World]


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Author: Creighton DeSimone View all posts by

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