A Prospective Tool Of Education

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It’s popular belief that video games are addictive and turn people into dull headed zombies. This supposedly wrong notion about video games is sought to be set right by no less than the Federation of American Scientists.

Everyone agrees that repeatedly doing a thing will result in almost perfecting the task. Video games by their very nature involve repetition to a large extent. By repeatedly playing a game, the child gets to master the techniques and tricks to win the game. To win a video game you have to plan and strategize, as almost all the games are based on a story line of mysteries and surprises. When a child playing a game repeatedly, learns the tricks and cheats to win the game by trial and error, he’s honing his skills in analytical thinking, multitasking, team building and problem solving under pressure. These are the qualities that every employer is looking for in his prospective employees.

However, one can’t rejoice that playing video games will give him /her good job, for, not all the games are so positively oriented. Except for a handful of games, all others promote violence and destruction. Besides this, none of the games are curriculum oriented – they teach nothing about science or math or whatever subject as in the school syllabus. So, the government and the industry should invest in projects to develop games that are subject oriented as well as soft skills enhancing.

Among the teaching fraternity, there is a half hearted support for having video games as a teaching aid. While two thirds of teachers interviewed for their opinion thought that the video games would lead to “anti-social behaviours”, a large majority believed that they developed motor, cognitive and thinking skills and acquire specific knowledge. In schools, it is almost impossible to pay personal attention to each of the students and teaching according to his learning skills. But now, some educationists believe that games have the potential to personalize and allow pupils to learn at their own pace. Thinking of it, we find children sitting glued to computer or video games for hours together, while teachers find it difficult to keep the attention of the students for a full 40 minutes. So, it is clear that visual attraction and interacting process can be used for better gain. Perhaps, if there is a video game that is based on a lesson, say history, on the life of Napoleon, children would get to know the French History better.

As of now there are only a handful of commercial games that can be used for education purposes. The governments of the world and the gaming industry should fund projects that help develop games based on the school curriculum. Using software for teaching is different from using games. Video game is a technology that can’t be wished away. It has come to stay and is eating up almost all the time the kids have to spare.

Doug Lowenstein, President of the Entertainment Software Association, says, “We would be crazy not to seek ways to exploit interactive games to teach our children.” Don Blake, technology analyst for the National Education Association, says that the teachers need to see games as a way to help – not as a threat!

The Experts have agreed to agree. So, this powerful medium should be properly harnessed and used prospectively, helping in bringing up a generation that excels in analytical thinking, multitasking, team building and problem solving.

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