It has long been assumed that games and game play provide a positive effect on children. Parents have been and are still encouraged to play games with their children and encourage imagination in game play to help develop a young child’s mind. A few of the reasons games are believed to be beneficial are: they encourage problem solving, analytical thinking, team work, and strategizing. When video games were first introduced they were looked at differently than traditional board games. Video games were once thought to be a bad thing that would rot a child’s brain; however, there is a developing trend in education that suggests video games would have a positive effect on students and should be used in formal education to advance the learning experience.
Video games have the potential to teach the integration of technical materials in a fun and interactive way. The video games that are available today are very different than the Pac Man and Spaced Invaders of yesterday. While there was strategy involved in winning the game of Pac Man, the game Age of Empires takes the level of strategy involved to win to an all new level. Age of Empires is a historical real-time strategy game that offers many levels of technical problem solving skills in order to be successful at mastering the game. Playing the game introduces the student to geographical information, historical details about battles, the strategies that were successful in historical battles and details about the resources needed to survive. An engaged student will learn and remember better than a casual surface learner. If history class involved a video game instead of just blackboard notes and lecture the outcome would subsequently be a positive one in most cases. Video games could be a valuable instrument to partner with education to provide an opportunity to keep students engaged. According to Sethi, (2012), “Traditional learning has provided superficial learning through textbooks. Games are best at teaching a deeper level of learning”.
A second reason utilizing video games for education would have a positive effect is “A good video game is challenging, entertaining, and complicated . . . it takes intense concentration to finish one. Even kids who can’t sit still in school can spend hours trying to solve a video game.” James Gee, an education professor at the University of Wisconsin, is quoted in Sohn’s article as stating “ . . . games focus attention in a way that school doesn’t . . . the captivating power of a video game might lie in their interactive nature”. In today’s technology world holding the attention of a student would be difficult without the utilization of some form of technology. As a result of integrating video games into education learning would be seen from the student’s perspective as entertaining yes, but ultimately would hold the student’s attention long enough to really allow learning to occur.
A third reason for introducing video games into the education arena is that for individuals today to have an upper hand they have to be skilled in technology. Video games can be the very conduit to enhancing a student’s technological comfort and skill level. How better to teach subjects like science and math than with an interactive system of theory and application. Progress is happening all around and the old style jobs are no longer a viable option. Because of this there is a current push to get more students involved in STEM education. STEM stands