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Critical Thinking And Video Games

Sheldon Armstrong writes that;

“Many parents see video games as time-wasting distractions and encourage their children to stop playing and to focus on their studies. A growing number of teachers and scientists, however, are beginning to see these games as valuable tools in education and therapy. Video games have the ability to teach children not only basic skills, including math, physics and language arts, but broader concepts like collaboration, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking. Innovative therapists also use existing gaming systems to develop new programs to help patients recover from a variety of accidents and illnesses.

Education
Gaming offers children an alternative to the boredom they often feel when faced with traditional methods of education. Computers and tablets are such a ubiquitous part of contemporary life that it makes sense for teachers to use them in educational curriculums.

Video games are adaptable for all levels of learning. Instead of boring rote memorization that can be off putting to kids, video games offer an exciting medium to help students conceptualize theories in subjects such as math, algebra, geometry, and physics. Games can teach problem solving, provide challenges, and encourage risk-taking, all within an educational context. These games can motivate kids in their schooling.

Spatial Reasoning
Spatial reasoning is the ability to visualize and manipulate two- and three-dimensional objects. It is a vital component in the teaching of mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. Studies have linked strong spatial reasoning skills with advanced levels of creativity and innovation. Games that encourage children to solve puzzles, build structures, and craft virtual worlds also teach children spatial reasoning. Developing spatial reasoning skills through video games not only helps kids improve basic math scores, but can also prepare them for future professional work.

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking involves understanding concepts rather than memorizing facts. In video games, players are confronted with complex problems for which they must formulate solutions and take appropriate action. Often, a number of different alternatives are presented to players, forcing them to make quick choices. This process sharpens vital critical thinking skills.

Collaboration
Though gamers are often stereotyped as people sitting alone in front of a screen, in reality, most game play is a collaborative process. Many games have multi-player options in which two players, each with a controller, work together to solve a problem or reach a goal. In a larger context, massively multi-player onlinerole-playing games in which players from all over the Internet join forces in virtual worlds to combat foes and achieve objectives require sophisticated teamwork skills. Video games enable students to interact socially while they simultaneously develop problem-solving skills.”

To read the full article by Sheldon Armstrong click here;

http://thetechscoop.net/2013/11/27/breaking-barriers-video-games-tools-learning-recovery/

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Tags: American Psychological Association, Basic skills, colaboration, Critical thinking, Education, Games and Learning, Massively multiplayer online game, research, research on video games, Role-playing game, spacial reasoning, Video game, Virtual world

Video Games Lead to Faster Decisions that are No Less Accurate

September 13, 2010


'A test subject attempts to determine whether the erratically moving dots on a computer screen are moving left or right on average during a study at the University of Rochester August 24, 2010. This was one task used by UR professor of brain and cognitive science Daphne Bavelier and colleagues in their study, "Improved probabilistic inference as a general learning mechanism with action video games", to determine whether playing video games makes people faster decision makers while having no detrimental effect on accuracy.'

Study Suggests That Video Games Could be Training Tool for Quicker Reactions

Cognitive scientists from the University of Rochester have discovered that playing action video games trains people to make the right decisions faster. The researchers found that video game players develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them, and this benefit doesn't just make them better at playing video games, but improves a wide variety of general skills that can help with everyday activities like multitasking, driving, reading small print, keeping track of friends in a crowd, and navigating around town.

Action Video Games Found to Sharpen Decision-Making (CBS News)

In an upcoming study in the journal Current Biology, authors Daphne Bavelier, Alexandre Pouget, and C. Shawn Green report that video games could provide a potent training regimen for speeding up reactions in many types of real-life situations.

Video games have grown in popularity to the point where 68 percent of American households have members that play them, according to a 2009 report by the Entertainment Software Association.

The researchers tested dozens of 18- to 25-year-olds who were not ordinarily video game players. They split the subjects into two groups. One group played 50 hours of the fast-paced action video games "Call of Duty 2" and "Unreal Tournament," and the other group played 50 hours of the slow-moving strategy game "The Sims 2."

After this training period, all of the subjects were asked to make quick decisions in several tasks designed by the researchers. In the tasks, the participants had to look at a screen, analyze what was going on, and answer a simple question about the action in as little time as possible (i.e. whether a clump of erratically moving dots was migrating right or left across the screen on average). In order to make sure the effect wasn't limited to just visual perception, the participants were also asked to complete an analogous task that was purely auditory.

The action game players were up to 25 percent faster at coming to a conclusion and answered just as many questions correctly as their strategy game playing peers.

Participants in a University of Rochester study, "Improved probabilistic inference as a general learning mechanism with action video games", by UR professor of brain and cognitive science Daphne Bavelier played 50 hours of video games over multiple weeks. Players who played action games like Call of Duty 2 (pictured here) made quicker decisions than those who played slow-paced strategy games like The Sims without sacrificing accuracy.

"It's not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster," Bavelier said. "Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference."

The authors' neural simulations shed light on why action gamers have augmented decision making capabilities. People make decisions based on probabilities that they are constantly calculating and refining in their heads, Bavelier explains. The process is called probabilistic inference. The brain continuously accumulates small pieces of visual or auditory information as a person surveys a scene, eventually gathering enough for the person to make what they perceive to be an accurate decision.

"Decisions are never black and white," she said. "The brain is always computing probabilities. As you drive, for instance, you may see a movement on your right, estimate whether you are on a collision course, and based on that probability make a binary decision: brake or don't brake."

Action video game players' brains are more efficient collectors of visual and auditory information, and therefore arrive at the necessary threshold of information they need to make a decision much faster than non gamers, the researchers found.

The new study builds on previous work by Bavelier and colleagues that showed that video games improve vision by making players more sensitive to slightly different shades of color.