No matter what generation you are in, chances are that games have played a large part in your life.
From Super Mario Brothers to Pokemon Go, video games have been an important part of our culture for decades now.
But does this mean they should be in the classroom?
How often do you hear people say that video games are a waste of time and should be banned?
This is a huge misconception about the gaming industry.
One way to help nurture a child’s natural curiosity and ability to learn is through games.
Gaming has many educational values in the classroom, such as teaching students problem-solving skills, how to work together in teams, and improving their hand-eye coordination.
In this blog post, we will explore the educational value of games in the classroom and help you see how students who are exposed to a fun learning environment are more likely to excel in school than those who don’t.
Table of Contents
- Exploring the Benefits and the Value of Games in a Classroom
- Educational Value of Games: Takeaway
Exploring the Benefits and the Value of Games in a Classroom
Creating a fun learning environment is necessary for all age groups and games to help with achieving just that.
Below are some benefits associated with gaming that would help you see the value of games within a classroom.
Games Improve Memory Recall
Let’s start with how playing games improves memory recall.
There was actually research performed on children using computerized “Simon” type tasks where they had to repeat back certain patterns in class over several months which showed improved performance at school when tested.
This is because the games helped improve the cognitive function of the brain, improving attention, focus, and short-term memory- the three most important elements for effective learning.
This is especially important for children with learning disabilities like ADD or ADHD who struggle to memorize facts and figures necessary for success in school.
Games Improve Problem-Solving Skills
Games also help improve problem-solving skills which are crucial across all disciplines of study, not just math or science.
Most game mechanics utilize these very same types of reasoning skills.
For example, in a game like chess you must consider all possible moves your opponent might make and how responding to those moves would affect the outcome of the match.
You also have to predict what types of strategies they will use against you based on their previous actions and this requires some very deep insight into human behavior.
This is even more valuable for children in the younger grades who are still learning how to solve problems in a logical and sequential manner.
Children often learn best when they can see an example of what is right or wrong, so games give them another opportunity beyond classroom exercises to practice these skills at home. These simple mechanics reinforce logical thinking strategies without even trying.
Games Foster Creativity
Games are excellent for fostering creativity.
One of my favorite examples is the game “Carcassonne” which is a tile-placement game where players try to build cities, roads, and farms on the board using randomly drawn tiles.
The rules of this game are very simple but there are still so many creative possibilities.
The first player might lay down an open road piece while another builds her farm right next to it.
A third player might place his city on top of both, creating a bustling metropolis.
The game rewards creativity and innovative thinking without the players even realizing they are learning these skills.
When children play games like “Carcassonne” for an hour each day after school, their minds will be stimulated in ways that can positively impact their intellectual development and school performance.
This type of thinking can be transferred into other areas as well such as writing or artistic pursuits.
By allowing students to design something that they want (like their own farm or house) instead of what someone else wants (a traditional paper), you open up new possibilities in how their work can look, which will help inspire more creative thought processes overall.
Games Make Learning More Social and Engaging for Students.
By playing games in a classroom, students not only learn skills they will use in school but also pick up social and emotional tools that can make them more successful later on.
Cooperative games let children work together towards shared goals.
Games like “Charades” and “Pictionary” require teamwork to be played effectively so the children must communicate with one another using different ways during play.
This helps develop important communication skills which are key for any type of future success.
These types of cooperative experiences can also be extremely beneficial for those children who have trouble making friends or learning social cues in the classroom.
Children with autism spectrum disorders especially benefit from this type of activity as it allows them to experience positive interactions with others in a safe and controlled environment.
Educational Value of Games: Takeaway
The educational benefits of games are vast and varied.
They help people learn better, develop important social skills, encourage creativity, improve critical thinking abilities, and can be used to introduce new concepts or assess student learning progressions.