Coming from a generation which honed its problem-solving skills decades ago sitting at an Apple IIe and playing Oregon Trail, it's a little strange to see a professor in 2006 having to argue the merits of educational video games as a learning tool in the classroom. The professor argues that video gaming can teach children innovative adaptation skills, assuming teachers are using the right games: his. Dubbed "epistemic games," the professor's titles teach kids adaptive thinking while they tackle simulated occupations such as biomechanical engineering, journalism, or graphic artistry. We've discussed studies claiming that games help kids to multitask, improve their confidence, or just make learning more interesting. Of course there's been quite a few scientifically dubious studies as well, many financed by publishers who argue kids should be gaming in class, well, just because. Many of these studies and articles seem to lump games into one massive category, and obviously there's a huge difference between Doom and city simulators -- or skill building games like Math Blaster. Of course the media's obsession with Grand Theft Auto may have left parents and teachers game-phobic, making them unreceptive to new educational gaming ideas. Whatever the reason, the educational gaming industry has been hard hit, and has been facing a consistent and significant drop in sales since 2000. It's a shame, since trying to find Carmen San Diego made us who we are today.
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