Video Games and Learning

February 12, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 7
Do games help students in the classroom?
By Alicia Ault

Introduction

A fifth-grader plays “Minecraft” (Getty Images/The Chicago Tribune/Chuck Berman)
A fifth-grader plays “Minecraft” to help him understand what he reads in “The Hobbit” at Quest Academy in Palatine, Ill. Many educators are using video games to help teach history, science and other subjects as well as to sharpen students' critical-thinking skills and improve attention skills. (Getty Images/The Chicago Tribune/Chuck Berman)

From “Candy Crush” to “Call of Duty,” some 150 million Americans play video games, including all but a small fraction of children. The global spread of technology and migration of video games to mobile devices have helped propel the industry to record sales — $61 billion worldwide in 2015. Among the biggest converts to video games are educators, who are using them to teach such subjects as history, geography, science and math and to hone students' critical-thinking abilities. Meanwhile, developers are creating games to improve attention skills in children with ADHD, delay cognitive decline in adults, help recovering stroke victims and improve corporate customer service. But questions remain about video games' effectiveness at enhancing learning and cognition and whether games promote addiction or shorten attention spans. And while half of players are women, critics say gaming culture discourages female participation, a problem that could have ramifications for education as games become more prominent in schools.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Computers
Feb. 26, 2016  Virtual Reality
Feb. 12, 2016  Video Games and Learning
Jan. 15, 2016  The Dark Web
Feb. 15, 2013  Improving Cybersecurity
Apr. 13, 2012  Internet Regulation
Sep. 16, 2011  Computer Hacking
Sep. 24, 2010  Impact of the Internet on Thinking
Feb. 26, 2010  Cybersecurity
Aug. 01, 2008  Internet Accuracy
May 02, 2008  Cyberbullying
Jul. 28, 2006  Cyber Socializing
May 12, 2006  Controlling the Internet
Jun. 10, 2005  Identity Theft
Sep. 17, 2004  Cyberpolitics
Sep. 26, 2003  Cybersecurity
Apr. 12, 2002  Cyber-Crime
Oct. 27, 2000  Computers and Medicine
May 26, 2000  Future of Computers
Jan. 28, 2000  The Digital Divide
Feb. 05, 1999  Digital Commerce
Jun. 30, 1995  Regulating the Internet
May 21, 1993  Software Piracy
Sep. 30, 1988  Management's High-Tech Challenge
Jan. 09, 1987  Power Surge in Personal Computers
Feb. 13, 1981  The Computer Age
Nov. 03, 1978  America's Information Boom
Jan. 06, 1978  Computer Crime
May 12, 1971  Reappraisal of Computers
Jul. 25, 1962  Approach to Thinking Machines
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Advertising
Alternative Medicine
Computers and the Internet
Early Childhood Education
Education Policy
Popular Culture
Research in Education
Students and Social Life
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