Video Games Belong In Schools Because Some Teachers Think They Might Possibly Consider Using Them, Maybe

from the there-should-be-some-better-research dept

Over the years, we’ve seen various reports that suggest how video games can be beneficial for kids, from increasing their ability to multitask, to improving confidence to making learning more interesting. However, mixed in with all of these are some questionable studies. The latest is a report coming out of the UK, saying that there’s now “evidence” that video games deserve a place in schools. What’s the evidence? A study, sponsored by video game companies including EA and Take Two, in which “59% of teachers would consider using off-the-shelf games in the classroom while 62% of students wanted to use games at school.” That’s hardly compelling evidence. In fact, it’s not evidence at all. It’s asking a bunch of teachers whether or not they would think about maybe using a video game if it was worthwhile. It’s almost surprising that the number who answered yes is so low. If anything, the report seems a lot more damning for the game makers than in favor of their position. Of course, this isn’t the first time that EA has pulled off this kind of non-study to support video games in schools. In January, they put out a similar study about whether or not video games were good for kids, where they simply asked teachers if they thought the games were beneficial, rather than, you know, actually studying to see if the games were beneficial. There very well may be a place for video games in the classroom — but to support it, you would hope that researchers (whether backed by the video game industry or not) could find a bit more compelling evidence.


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Comments on “Video Games Belong In Schools Because Some Teachers Think They Might Possibly Consider Using Them, Maybe”

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30 Comments
Reed says:

Just say no to off the shelf games!

Great idea using games in the class room, but off the shelf games? I just don’t see it. I think they are on the right track though. MAYBE they should be “inventing” computer games to educate students??? Yah think… Sorry but educators amaze me sometimes. It is like they are stuck in this 18th century world where real life, psychology, and common sense just vanish.

Of course they should be using educational games! They should have been using them heavily ten years ago. Get with the trends..sheesh, I guess that’s what you get when you let someone else do the job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Just say no to off the shelf games!

(from the student’s point of view) The problem is that the label of ‘educational games’ removes the fun from the gaming, due to the assumption that learning is not fun – the games a student likely wants to play aren’t educational!

(from the teacher’s point of view) The problem is that the games the students want to play are not educational enough.

Personally, as a student (and a gamer besides), I find that some off the shelf games do educate (in some cases more than actual classes), despite not being billed as educational games. For example, having not picked History as a subject (but going by the reporst of a close friend), and living in Australia where a lot of history is somewhat lacking, games like Europa Universalis (sp?) teach me a hell of a lot more about (European) history than a class would have.

Games are meant to be entertaining, and purposefully diluting the entertainment in favour of upping the learning is only going to stop people playing them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Depends. Play a game like Capitalism 2 and the kids will learn more about economics than they will in most public schools.

There are a lot of games like Capitalism that would definitely benefit students. When people hear off the shelf games they think of console games, but there is a lot of computer games that have very limited, yet educational fan base while retaining entertainment.

I still remember playing Oregon Trail in my first grade library class. By the time I hit 5th grade I already knew everything about the Oregon Trail and that subject was pretty friggin easy.

Donald Duck says:

Let them play GTA San Andreas

They should be able to take their favorite games to school. Teach the teachers something 🙂

from the posting

from increasing their ability to multitask, to improving confidence to making learning more interesting

I can see the kids learning how to control San Andreas. They could play against each other and learn from world wide web how to multitask gang members together, fightin for their hood. It would improve confidence and THAT WOULD MAKE LEARNING A HELL OF A LOT MORE INTERESTING.

Seriously wal mart and stores alike carries all kinds of computer software for kids of all ages on every subject. I say why not let some kid see those and learn from them. Of course it could be worth billion$ of dollar$ for those companies.

Anonymous Coward says:

I install off the shelf games into classrooms. Pity they are all shitty educational games, but I guess they keep the kiddies occupied, and occassionally learning something new.

What I find most appalling about games in schools is how freaking old their game software is. They want me to support DOS based games under Windows XP, because they have been using the same rubbish for so long.

S says:

It's already happened...

At my former school, all children have had interactions with games like Zoombinis (which incidentally is still fun now). WHilst being educational (I think anyway), They are fun, and children love to play them, not even realising that they are learning, or practising their mathematics skills.

There are many more games like this, for example the year two teacher (second grade for you americans), regularly plays games like ‘Maths Rabbit’ or the such like.

As far as I can tell, the students enjoy playing these games, and I can see the educational value of the games.

The Man says:

Re: Games Not Good

I am not a fan of video games for children. Even educational ones. I do not let my kids play video games, but also they have not asked. Kids should be playing outside or indoors using their imagination to play games the way kids did before computers. Video games in school is just for lazy teachers who are trying to kill time. If they engage the children and find ways to make the kids use their imagination, the payoff would be great. But of course that is hard and hard things are bad. Easier just to throw a kid in front of a computer and walk away.

Amos says:

Doing it now

I work with a company that provides computer and software access to students in local schools. I’ve put computers in elementary classrooms across the district and loaded them with (mostly) educational games. The teachers were really unsure about having the games available a first, but over the years they’ve really embraced the technology and actually have the kids on a schedule to play during certain recesses and other free time (in balance with other activities, of course).

Like any other tool, video games can be be positive and effective when approached with an open mind. I’m not saying it would be good to put GTA in a 4th grade classroom, but something like a Robot Arena 2 design competition really does have a lot of benefits to it. It just takes a while for a lot of “classically trained” teachers to warm up to the idea.

Bob has dysentary. says:

number munchers ftw! anyway, at this time, i don’t see a place for any real in-depth educational games (or any real games that also happen to be educational) in the classroom. they’d represent too much of a time investment to be worthwhile (not to mention the monetary investment in software and possibly computers – some schools are still using those state of the art apple IIe beauties, mind you). right now, there’s no real academic learning that can occur on a computer that can’t occur with a teacher, a book, and a classroom.

Xanthir, FCD (profile) says:

Bad stats are bad stats, from anyone

EA and Take Two, I love you guys. You do a lot of good stuff, and you’re big players in some of the pro-vg associations. However, throwing together a crappy study showing next to nothing and then playing up the results far beyond what the numbers can support is exactly the sort of crap that your enemies do.

Please stop it. Thanks.

Oh, and on the side-topic, Number Munchers FTW! The fact is, to be good at math you *need* to do math over and over again. There are basics that need to be continually repeated until they are instinctual, just like in reading. Do you think it would be fun to read a book if you had to look up every other word in the dictionary? No, and so you drill kids with words every single day. This is simply natural, though. Math skills have the same need to be constantly drilled in, though, and the lack of this is a big contributor to the hatred of math, imo. If you can’t quickly and reliably multiply single-digit numbers, how are you ever going to enjoy algebra? It’s like throwing someone a copy of Proust and a french-to-english dictionary, and saying, “Enjoy! He’s a great poet, you’ll see.” The amount of work involved in just figuring out what he’s saying will turn people off of putting in the work to *understand* what he’s saying.

Kid i High school (freshman) says:

To me GTA would be a great thing to have in the class room. My school gave ervery student an Apple MacBook. A base modle but with a gig of ram and insurence. So if one of us forgets that water/pepsy and laptops don’t mix then a replacement is only $100 away the second one will not come with insurence. At the end of my four years I am hopping to buy this thing off the school. as far as the games goes the teachers are going to have to deal with them weather they like it or not. I have Call of Dutie 2 (demo) on mine and am hoping to buy the full version soon. Surprisingly the graphics arn’t half bad and I can’t wate for the tech to forget to lock this thing so that I can install “other” programs on here. As far as games in the class goes it will happen maby no the off the shelf games but something close.

Crystal (user link) says:

Are video games good in school

I think that the reason why kids dont do good in school is because it is borring. With video games they can learn in a fun way . They dont just have to sit in a class room and listen to a teacher talk all the time. I am a student and I cant stand it when a teacher just talks we need to be able to have fun in school while learning and that is why we should be able to play video games in school as long as we learn somethig from it and I dont mean how to kill a [erson or something.

Freshman says:

Have you been in a class that you cant stand becau

In highschool I cant stand most of my classes. All the teaches do is talk all the time. They try to make things interesting but they make it worse. If we were able to play vidoe games in school things would be a lot more interesting and we might be able to learn better that way. We would be more intersted in what we are doing.

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