Games in the classroom A very interesting and debatable topic


A very interesting and debatable topic of games, was an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by James Gee on video games in the classroom. He said, 'Are video games a valid academic field of research' Will video games one day become a teaching tool in the classroom, alongside textbooks and other traditional media' Or are video games yet another distraction'

A growing number of academics and departments at colleges and universities are seriously examining video games for their artistry, their influence on culture, and their potential as a teaching tool. Some academics think that video games , which can immerse players in new worlds and make them rely on problem-solving skills -- can teach things that traditional "skill and drill" curriculums can´t. However, despite the growing popularity of video-game research, the field is still controversial among some academics'.

Regarding regular games, James Gee went on to say about regular games; 'Let me say that a teacher of small children could use a game like Animal Crossing off the shelf to enhance language and literacy learner for native and non-native English-speaking children. If the game were enhanced just a bit for these purposes, it would be a nearly ideal language and literacy tool, but even as is, it could be very motivating and useful.

Games can allow us to recruit the incredible power of informal learning -- the sort of learning humans are best at , inside formal learning spaces. But real change must happen in these formal learning spaces.

Games can teach facts well, and certainly could be used without much change in schools. The real potential of games is to prompt people to think and to encourage and ignite the mind in different ways. It is a known and proven fact that children learn better when having fun'.

An avid creator of games Chris Hunt, an author of Childs Play had this to say about competitive games, 'I am certain that over competitive games are detrimental to language learning. Further I have a feeling that all competitive games are ultimately limiting and less effective than co-operative games as teaching tools. That´s only my feeling however, I have no evidence to back me up. I know that many would disagree. Consider for example two statements from David Paul, writing in Finding Out, "The desire to win games can also make the children much more interested in learning,", and again, "In general wanting to win can be a powerful motivating force." But I believe the desire to win only makes the children more interested in winning. In the worse cases victory in games can become a horrible one-upmanship. English is not enjoyed for its own sake but becomes a means to put down others. By definition, competition means working for a goal in such a way as to prevent others from reaching their goals. I win by making sure that you lose. This is the underlying ethos inherent in all competitive situations. Such an ethos should be abhorrent in the classroom'.

I think over all there are many more positive notes to games in the class room than negative. If games in the class room were more part of a students curriculum it might introduce a different breed in the new generation, that enjoy learning and find education fun and exciting.