Game design students enroll into a game design school to learn how to make games, but do the games they make help anyone else learn? Teachers and students alike debate the effect that video games have on students and whether or not games made for education actually work.
While many parents and teachers claim that gaming simply rots the mind, a number of studies show that it might be the exact opposite.
A neuroscientist named Paul Howard-Jones states that the benefit behind gaming is all about the production of dopamine. When a child sits down to play a game, the brain is stimulated to produce dopamine. Dopamine focuses the child and helps them to make connections between neurons, which is the basis of learning.
A number of reports state that children who play video games are presented with an interactive lesson in hand-eye coordination and motor control. With the necessity to pay attention to the screen while making use of a controller (with many buttons) it is obvious to see how hand-eye coordination may be boosted.
It also comes down to a familiarity factor. With an overabundance of technology placed in the hands of young children in today’s world, children understand the gaming format. When a game is used alongside a lesson plan or when a game is made to educate, a student can relate to the format and more readily take in the lesson being taught.
Students themselves believe the use of those games would be incredibly beneficial in the long run. A government poll asking young people about the benefits of educational video games had 70% saying gaming could be good for kids.
There are a number of concerns that come with utilizing games as teaching tools. Some say that students will not retain the skills and information learned while playing the game at a later date. Some say that the themes of certain video games promote violence and that that can contribute to social deficiencies. Money is a huge factor as well, with the cost of the technology for a full class of students being a bit too high for schools to fund.
Educational video games are also criticized for not engaging the student’s well enough, due to the focus on certain lessons. Not to say that these games should not be focused on helping a student learn, but they have to rely on the benefits of the medium as well, which include general fun and interaction.
Game design students may be learning how to make games, but they should also be thinking about how to help people learn from games as well. When enrolling, know that the field is open for a great educational hit that makes use of traditional game design.
Get information on game design degrees using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your game design degree.
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