Many students have a difficult time comprehending the material taught within the current educational system. Often the problem is not the material itself, but rather the ways in which it is supposed to be learned. Therefore, some young people are not able to concentrate in class due to not being interested in how the educational process takes place. To help improve this, school boards should consider implementing video gaming into the learning process, since video games are something in which most students are interested. Edutainment video gaming at schools could help improve academic performance, enhance problem-solving skills, and facilitate communication; moreover, there are examples of institutions that had success with such programs.
While there is evidence that spending time in front of screens negatively impacts one’s cognitive abilities, this is not the case with video gaming. In their recent study, Sauce et al. discovered that the children who played video games for above-average amounts of time had their intelligence increased on a more-than-an-average scale (3). There was no such effect in terms of TV watching or computer use; moreover, both of these led to worse performance in school, but video gaming did not (Sauce et al. 2). Sauce et al. note that, in that sense, playing video games is a unique digital activity the cognitive benefits of which are supported by observational and experimental research (2). Its advantages for intelligence and school performance are consistent with active learning theories, and, therefore, it makes sense to implement video gaming into educational programs.
In addition to that, the introduction of video games to the learning process could help young people enhance their socialization and cooperation skills. Students, apart from playing alone, can be paired or grouped so that they learn to interact while solving problems together. Problem-solving, in its turn, is reported to be facilitated by gaming, which, as a result, stimulates brain function as a whole (Jagoo). If a person begins to struggle in class, they could expect to receive help from their classmates, for whom it might be much easier to explain the subject on the example of a video game. Those who do the explaining will use their problem-solving skills and contribute to peer-to-peer interaction in the process. Consequently, edutainment video gaming could be beneficial to the education system and is worth considering adopting.
Some may assume that all of the above-said sounds great in theory, but video games are difficult to make a part of the educational process in actual practice. However, the example of a New York-based school named Quest to Learn shows not only that the idea can be realized, but that it can be very successful. The school’s executive director, Katie Salen, says that the school was designed to support learning in the way video games do it (Chaplin). At Quest to Learn, students are taught communication, data-using, problem-solving, predicting things, and what is called systems thinking, which, as per Salen, is integral to this century’s literacy. Such an approach of the school’s founders became a triumph: Chaplin reports that, at one point, there were almost 500 applications for 80 slots. Granted, an institution of such an unusual format is destined to be closely watched by representatives of the education system. However, considering how Quest to Learn participants gain skills that prepare them for life and work in the real world, it might be worth it.
In conclusion, edutainment video gaming programs could be extremely beneficial to the current educational system. First of all, video games are reported to be advantageous to students’ cognitive abilities and improve their school performance. In addition to that, while video gaming in class, young people could learn to interact with one another and optimize their problem-solving skills. Moreover, the example of Quest to Learn shows that not only can video gaming be put into practice at schools, but that game-based learning can be the foundation for whole educational institutions. Perhaps, in the nearest future, video games will be accepted as a common tool to elevate learning, and the success it will bring will be astonishing.
Chaplin, Heather. “School Uses Video Games to Teach Thinking Skills.” NPR, 2010.
Jagoo, Krystal. “Video Games Have Potential to Boost Children’s Intelligence, Study Finds.” Verywell Mind, 2022.
Sauce, Bruno, et al. “The Impact of Digital Media on Children’s Intelligence While Controlling for Genetic Differences in Cognition and Socioeconomic Background.” Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 1, 2022, pp. 1-14.