Wokandapix (CC0), Pixabay

Society is getting more and more digital. Innovations in technology allow us to use virtual simulations to train firefighters, medics, and even students. Using gaming elements in the classroom seems to work wonders for most pupils. Students are receptive to this new style of learning because it mixes business with pleasure. Sure, it’s not like teachers are letting students play Fortnite or Call of Duty. The games are adapted to suit a particular curriculum. Although it’s not an authentic, at-home gaming experience, the results are tangible.

Horace was a Latin philosopher and essay writer from the Roman Empire. He was the first to theorize the combination between useful and fun as a teaching method. His methods may be antique, but they’re more than valid today.

“Dag Hammarskjold” Middle School from Connecticut

An excellent example of video game schooling is the Middle School “Dag Hammarskjold” from Wallingford, Connecticut. This institution has already collected a repertoire of video game titles as educational tools. One title, in particular, looks a lot like “Fortnite.” In this game, kids complete challenges that are closely related to what they’re learning in class. Schoolchildren are rewarded with in-game prizes and skins for their virtual pets.

Both teachers and students are happy with how things turned out after adopting Classcraft. The new gaming system incentivizes students to learn but can also subtract points for bad behavior.

“The Amana” Academy from Georgia

Another successful example of using Classcraft is “The Amana” Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. Here, teachers say that the digital platform is performing wonders. Kids are participating like never before, and tutors can manipulate games to fit their purposes. Students are gathering their forces together to beat cooperative levels and score group points.

“Quest to Learn” Middle School from New York City

One of the first public schools to use game-based curriculums was “Quest to Learn” Middle School from New York City. Ten years ago, this school launched its school program based on video games. Researchers followed the institution to study long-term effects. The results neither confirmed nor refuted the methodology:

  • 43% of students who learned through video games scored a passing grade in a state-wide English test compared to 41% of traditional students from the city.
  • 29% of students who learned through video games scored a passing grade in a state-wide math test compared to 33% of the city’s regular students.

Although there isn’t a net difference between the study groups, game-based learning supporters claim that benefits do exist. More precisely, the Institute of Play is a non-profit organization that designs educational games. They explain that the advantages aren’t necessarily translated into higher grades but rather into three main abilities:

  • Empathy
  • Creative thinking
  • Cooperation

Video gaming in education is only at the beginning. There’s enormous potential in many other areas of a child’s development. Also, using digital technology from an early age familiarizes the student with real-life tools. These instruments are necessary for many current job posts. Games are here to stay, so why not put them to good use? Let’s delve into some proven benefits that education through video games can provide:

Problem-solving and troubleshooting

Video games require both mental and physical skills. There are numerous puzzles and complex levels that kids must figure out alone or with their teammates.

Sometimes, kids will visit the internet to search for guides and walkthroughs when they can’t pass a level. Similar “outsourcing” teaches critical thinking.

Video games often have downloadable content, expansion sets, or even community mods. By installing such content, kids learn troubleshooting through a hands-on approach.

Socialization: colleagues become teammates

Multiplayer or LAN games are valid alternatives to socialization when face-to-face contact isn’t recommended. Other studies show that socialization through video games is beneficial because it allows kids to team-up organically. Solving quests together boots up their self-esteem and makes them understand the power of working as a group.

Writing, reading, and language improvements

Because of all the dialogs and narration in video games, kids usually get a larger vocabulary and better reading/writing skills. Generally, kids won’t read a book on their own, but they’ll read hundreds of lore books inside medieval virtual worlds without batting an eye.

Studies show that children can even learn foreign languages through video games. If they’re starting young, kids can learn new languages at a native level.

Enhances the visual and auditory awareness

Sound plays a significant role in modern video games. You can hear a leaf dropping with staggering accuracy in some titles. Also, the visual effects are on par with real-life scenarios. Imagine walking into a virtual cave trying to identify a rare bat or hidden mineral. Children will have better general awareness after stimulating the brain with high-definition simulations – all while in the classroom’s safety.

Improves spatial memory and orientation

Video games are dynamic and vast. Kids learn to find their way through intricate labyrinths and explore complex environments. Also, children must remember visual cues to navigate levels and objectives. Some games provide additional exploration tools such as maps and compasses. Whether it’s 2D or 3D, games can be highly beneficial from this point of view.

Enhances reaction time and multitasking skills

Some video game objectives require multitasking and fast reaction times. Kids can develop hand-eye coordination and the ability to solve multiple assignments at the same time. Even if the games are linear, they still must pay attention to the teacher.

Conclusion

Video games have enormous potential in improving the cognitive aspects of children and students if used adequately. Pioneer institutions have integrated games into the curriculum with apparent success. Although studies aren’t conclusive, they seem to indicate the following benefits:

  • Problem-solving and troubleshooting
  • Writing, reading, and language improvements
  • Enhances the visual and auditory awareness
  • Improves spatial memory and orientation
  • Enhances reaction time and multitasking skills

Virtual simulations are vital tools for many jobs such as astronauts, military personnel, firefighters, etc. Using similar technology to educate schoolkids is the next logical step. Apart from entertainment, video games seem to be revolutionary academic instruments for all levels of education.