Gaming gets a bad rap a lot of the time. It rots kids’ brains, turns them into vegetables; it makes kids’ socially isolated and neglect their studies — those are the most common charges, and are certainly based in reality.
Used responsibly, however, gaming can become a force that actually helps mold young minds for the better. The use of electronic games in education is on the rise, and many teachers are finding that it helps students not only retain information, but remain engaged and motivated as well.
How? According to University of Bristol neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones, there’s some serious science behind the theory. Electronic games, the thinking goes, stimulate the brain to produce the chemical, dopamine. Dopamine plays a number of important roles in the brain, not least among them aiding cognition. Moreover, smartly deployed gaming helps kids because it lets them maintain an active role in their learning processes, and explore and experiment on their own.
To explore the growing role of electronic games in schools, the Internet education portal OnlineSchools.com recently surveyed a number of sources, including Education Week, Ed.gov and the NEA Foundation.
Among their more notable findings, 3,500 Chinese students used an online learning course that included digital games to help them learn English. In a survey of their teachers, 95% said the digital program increased motivation among the students. Similarly, another study found that students who used a computer-learning program that included game-like elements scored 5.5 points higher in regional percentile rankings.
Check out the infographic for the fuller picture, then let us know in the comments: What kind of role do you think gaming can play in education?