Genius Hour Project

Video Games a beneficial educational tech tool in K12 class?

Research begins with "Are video games beneficial at all?"

According to my research video games are indeed beneficial to the human mind and it's functions that we apply on a daily basis. I've gone into detail about this topic on my Wordpress blog and my Smore project in the class so I wont ramble to much on this.
Here is a short list on mental functions and ways video games have been proven or studied to be beneficial:

  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Acting as a pain/stress reliever
  • Helping dyslexic students improve reading skills
  • Spatial navigation
  • Memory formation
  • Memory retention
  • Hand/arm movement and motor skills
  • Reduces mental decay associated with age
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Video Games as an Educational Tool:

The key to seeing the overall benefits is: Video games must be played in moderation, which is true for educational video games as well. Educational video games challenge the zone of proximal development between what students can do and what teachers can help teach them. Some games challenge student's critical thinking and analyzing skills by allowing them to interact with the world, provided feedback, and allowing them to think how they can interact to meet the goal or get the solution.

Educational video games are designed with UDL's in mind to help all students. In a school where there is a 1:1 program in place it is possible for students' learning styles to be accommodated; like students learn visually, through auditory, through writing, through kinetics, and much more learning. Most educational games tend to be unbiased, race-neural, multilingual, gender-neutral to accommodate most students.

The Misconceptions & Myths

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths regarding video games and why bringing them into a learning environment with impressionable kids would be a bad idea. The Article linked below touches on several topics that parents still think to this day:

  • Video games and aggression in children
  • Distracting and unhealthy for the mid
  • Catered towards male children

"Video games have always been on trial for their addictive nature, violent content, and negative physical, social, and mental effects. There has been little conclusive evidence that show the extent of theses side-effects," (Video Game Education Article). Not only that but video games inside of a learning environment tend to not be violent games; therefore, there should be no worry of students being exposed to violence.

Who doesn't think flashing lights in arcade games aren't distracting? Educational Video games are designed to focus the attention of students to be actively engaged to learn. I've aforementioned benefits reinforce why video games are not unhealthy.

The economy target market for video games is geared toward males in general but that does not affect the learning curve for males versus females. Educational video games are designed to be gender neutral (or gender configurable).

We understand your concern with children playing games all day but here we have an article that will help you better understand the negative connotations that games have, even from educators like ourselves. This article will also dispel some myths commonly associated with games: Article

Video Game Development

Video games are not only beneficial as a finished and playable product, but they help students in the developmental stage as well.

Edutopia features Mr. Chun's class as they develop video games that are designed to educate kids in lower grades. His class communicates and collaborates their different skills-such as graphic design, programming, management, overall direction of the game design-to create their games. Their creativity is challenges because they can't just build a game, but a game with purpose. A game to educate younger kids. With that in mind, Mr. Chun's class explores the realms of creativity to design a fun educational game. Article

There are also programs and apps available for children to create video games. Gamestar Mechanic is simply “a game and community designed to teach kids the principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging environment . . . it is designed for 7- to 14-year-olds but is open to everyone” (from the Gamestar Mechanic site).

Video: Mr. Chun's video game developing class (Ft. by Edutopia)

Teaching Teamwork Through Video Game Development (Tech2Learn Series)

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