Video and computer games have in the modern day today become a topic of debate concerning their role in education. Better known as gamified learning, the continued use of educative computer games in classrooms has become a standard teaching methodology that essentially creates a game-like scenario in and around the course curriculum as well as the objective of the course. Although many people would argue that computer games are addictive and could lead to violence, others are convinced of their numerous benefits when used in a classroom setting. This being said, this essay argues on the various reasons why educational computer games should be incorporated in a classroom setting in relation to their benefits.
To begin with, one of the primary reasons why educational computer games should be implemented in classrooms is as a means of enhancing learning while at the same time developing ICT skills. The modern day has seen an overwhelming increase in technology and its advancements. This being the case, students are expected to be well informed and constantly apprised of the significant technological changes (Kheradmand et al., 2012). Therefore, in playing educational games, it is with no doubt that students can develop both skills and competencies while at the same time learning the course curriculum. Modern day literature substantiates that some of the common skills developed through playing educational computer games are, communication, planning, decision-making, strategic thinking and social skills among others.
In a similar regard, when used in classrooms, educational computer games serve as tools that significantly engage children in learning. This means that when used effectively these games will help in the development of basic motor skills especially for children in their early childhood schools. In an in-depth research, Savill-Smith & Mitchell (2004) contend that the effective use of educational computer games in class can substantially stimulate motivation, enjoyment, and engagement for learning students. This, in turn, aids recall as well as information retrieval and most importantly encourage the development of numerous cognitive skills.
Although teachers have, for a long time, used computerized games that are specially designed for educational purposes, the new wave of innovation has taken popular computer games and transformed them into essential learning tools (Schaffhauser, 2013). This being the case, it is not surprising that teachers, educators, and policymakers are trying to build games for schools. Nonetheless, according to research done in the modern day today, the reason why the use of educative computer games is in most cases essential for education, is not since they are extremely effective as teaching tools but because they also foster the concept of innovation in children. More so, if used effectively, many educators have found that educational computer games can be used as motivators in their classrooms and this has since improved course assessment results and also encourage both attentive and productive students.
The use of technology, and especially educational computer games in classrooms allows educators to experiment more in pedagogy (Almeida, 2012). Research has it that as an academic professional, one learns more on how to effectively design as well as execute a class that is centrally guided with technology. Besides, although educational computer games are considered to be of significant benefits for the students, these games also help the teachers and educators to be well-versed in technology and this, in turn, helps in building one's credibility both with the students and also with fellow teachers and colleagues. Similarly, game-based learning offers countless resources necessary for enhancing education as well as making academia to be more fun and effective (Ashton, 2010).
There seems to be a broad agreement between contentions made by numerous teachers who have made use of educational computer games in class. Most of them claim that the use of educational computer games helps the students to develop various soft skills such as self-control, persistence, ability to work in group works, and self-confidence, among others. Based on this regard, a growing body of research shows that students who possess these traits have higher chances of succeeding later in life when compared to those who do not. These traits in students are highly attributed to the fact that game-based learning or rather the use of educational computer games in class can make learning more contextualized, more situated and more personalized.
Using educational computer games in classrooms is also considered overly beneficial since this kind of game-based learning helps in learning both content and skills, including the 21st-century skills such as collaboration and innovative problem-solving. According to Schaffhauser (2013), when used appropriately, educational computer games make it is possible to understand academia like a video game. This means that when students play these educational games, again and again, they enhance their daily academic practice and hence improving their academic knowledge with each new attempt. Similarly, living in the 21st century, technology has indeed taken over many aspects of life. For this reason, it is more important to incorporate video games in classrooms since they primarily prepare the learning students for living and also working in the 21st century. Owing to the fact that modern-day children are using computers more often as compared to those of a decade ago, it is only important that both educators and school leaders get the students to be more prepared for the working environment and also to see them more inspired towards different and relevant future careers. Banchero (2013), argues that educational gaming can help equip children with the skills necessary for adapting to the outside world.
Additionally, while playing educational computer games in class, students develop various connections with the educational content and as a result, for positive memories of learning. According to scholars, it is the funny and interesting moments that tend to stand out in the students minds, and for this reason, they latch onto the content or even the vocabulary that is studied in class (Ke & Grabowski, 2007). Besides, like any other types of games, computer games create a positive emotional connection which is evidently known to facilitate learning. More so, many educational computer games that are endorsed by many educational systems feature a variety of different stimuli, in which case many of the students seem to remember many of the classrooms learned concepts by acting them out. This means that when used effectively, educational games can provide numerous sensory experiences for students.
With technology advancing at a rapid rate, individuals will, in the future, be required to have skills necessary in computing as well as other electronic devices. This being the case, if educational games are implemented both at elemental school levels and higher levels of learning, this will certainly help to prepare learners for the future and most importantly provide them with a new learning perspective in their respective levels of learning (Almeida, 2012). Drawn from this context, it is also beneficial to make use of educational computer games in classroom environments since they create effective ways for children to be more motivated at the cognitive level and also in using the new and advanced technologies. For instance, one common way of motivating students via a student-centered approach is through the utilization of the worlds educational games that initially originated from Australia.
Conversely, the use of educational games in classrooms isnt without its critics. Opponents of the idea contend that computer and video related games are violent and addictive (Hollingdale & Greitemeyer, 2014). For this reason, both parents and teachers worry much that their school going children already spend too much time in front of screens while outside class and therefore, the introduction of more screen time in class may lead to addiction. In the same vein, other critics argue that the idea of computer games in classrooms is based on reward, hence corrupting the learning idea for students.
According to research done by modern-day pediatricians and health care professionals, the continued use of computer games both in school and at home has compromised the time that children spend engaging in physical activities. According to medics, simple outdoor activities such as walking in the park or even engaging in less vigorous activities have long been replaced by gaming sessions and also unhealthy hours of screen time (Kheradmand et al., 2012). This has, as a result, created a generation that is extremely tech savvy but also extremely physically inactive. Critics for the use of educational computer games in class also argue that increased use of computer games is ranked as one of the most common time spent on screens. This being the case, learners eventually strain their eyes, which eventually causes poor eyesight.
Similarly, critics claim that the use of computer games in class cannot be deemed as educational. According to many of them, gamification is a fad that does not teach anything meaningful to students. Besides, critics say that although the use of computer games in classrooms may be considered educative at times, this is a possible disconnect of social interaction. For instance, if a teacher creates assignments that can either be completed through oral presentations and the use of technological tools, a large percentage of the students will tend to lean on the option that makes use of technological tools. This, in essence, has proven to kill the desire for students to interact with their peers socially.
In conclusion, game-based learning has evidently gained more traction over the recent years and has become more accessible with numerous benefits. In a similar regard, both educational and commercial computer games have evolved from simple games used in the 80s to the complex games that are highly used today. For this reason, numerous benefits of the use of educational computer games in classrooms can be seen in their promotion of problem-solving skills and creative thinking, among other important factors in education. This being said, it is, therefore, with no doubt that educational computer games have positive educational outcomes when used effectively in classrooms. However, although numerous educational systems have endorsed the use of educational computer games in class, the greatest challenge lies in identifying how various educational games should be adequately incorporated in class to connect to the curriculum.
Almeida, L. C. (2012). The Effect of an Educational Computer Game for the Achievement of Factual and Simple Conceptual Knowledge Acquisition. Education Research International, 2012, 1-5. doi:10.1155/2012/961279
Ashton, D. (2010). Player, Student, Designer: Games Design Students and Changing Relationships With Games. Games and Culture, 5(3), 256-277. doi:10.1177/1555412009359766
Banchero, M. (2013, October 8). Computer Games in the Classroom - WSJ. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/now-teachers-encourage-computer-games-in-class-1381264012
Hollingdale, J., & Greitemeyer, T. (2014). The Effect of Online Violent Video Games on Levels of Aggression. PLoS ONE, 9(11), e111790. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111790
Kebritchi, M. (2010). Factors affecting teachers' adoption of educational computer games: A case study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), 256-270. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00921.x
Ke, F., & Grabowski, B. (2007)....
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