4. Motivation

Getting Smart chapter summary by Deonna Courtney

Chapter 4 Motivation: Getting Everyone in the Learning Game

The appeal of computer/online games to children of all ages is readily apparent from our own living rooms to restaurants, grocery stores, and our classrooms. Many of the "older generation" have been quick to dismiss these games as mindless time-wasters. However, it turns out that gamers show improved skills in vision, attention, and cognition. Surprised? Current behavioral research is showing that children are motivated by online games because of the way that games reward the brain. When playing online games, children work toward clearly defined goals, receive immediate feedback, and can track their progress in real time. Furthermore, the gaming experience contains just enough uncertaintly, or challenge, to keep the gamers engaged. Gamers exhibit persistence and a willingness to take risks, two traits that are pivotal to academic success.


The implications for the way we provide education to children are endless. "If we are committed to reaching and motivating all students and if we are committed to giving them the skills they need for a digital world, we need to harness the power of learning games and engaging media." Tom Vander Ark