Are computer and video games effective teaching tools?

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b.baker (not verified)

i dont think that you can

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i dont think that you can make a full go-ahead to this issue. i wonder what the gender break-down of "yes" respondents was? a male majority? or a pro-gaming majority? what i see in my classrooms over the past 10 years is that this is still genre that is maketed predominately to boys...and as such would not be "equally" accomodating towards the female population in classrooms. more work would need to be done in getting gaming into the female pysche.
M. Kear (not verified)

Being a female who grew up

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Being a female who grew up in the age of Atari, Nintendo, Sega and to those games of the day, I can back that the female gamer quota is a lot larger than most think. There are a lot of important females in the gaming field who have a love for not only playing but making games that children play these days. Of course the whole day should not be everyone gathered around playing video games, but video games go far beyond giving children better hand and eye coordination. It forces them to think when they don't really know they are learning. Reading and writing respones to the game helps improve both skills, and if a game tells a story it helps them become not only better at reading but interested in literature. The females of the group will only be less interested in learning through games if people continue to tell them that they are a minority in gaming. It might surprise many teachers just how many of them might be interested in the games. No matter what age, females love to out do the males in their class, it might turn out better than some teachers think. It's a wonderful idea, and not only should the teachers test out the game, but also the students. They should be monitored and see what games they respond to, and which ones actually have the results that everyone hopes for. Technology changes as society changes, and the way children learn these days is very different than the many years ago that our current school systems are based off of too. A last thought, not only playing the games has to be enough. There is also the world behind creating the games which can help create math skills, problem-solving skills, creative art skills, and team work. Full Sail and the Orlando Science Center hosts a Girls n Gaming convention every summer where girls of all ages can come in and create their own video games, and the outcome is always wonderful. Just food for thought.
M. Chmiel (not verified)

I have been involved in this

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I have been involved in this discussion for the past three years and while it is prudent to seek "proof" and "evidence" that games can help students learn, I have never seen any proof or evidence that textbooks help students gain enduring understanding. Some games are well designed and intrinisically motivate students to learn new content in meaningful ways. Other games are poorly designed and indeed students find ways to bypass learning in order to get to the extrinsic rewards the game features (Whyville is a notorious example of this). Let us not treat games as a discrete category, they ought to be judged on their own merits. Let us also not extend skepticisms to games that we would not extend to materials we continue to use that have themselves never been proven.
C. Gautreau (not verified)

Video games require reading

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Video games require reading skills, thereby allowing children to practice decoding challenging words and reading specific directions. In my experience of monitoring students read and play video games, I have found that students improve their reading skills. Parents and educators should select the video games for amusement and educational value. I believe that limiting the time children spend playing video games is important as well.
Vickie Wallin (not verified)

I am very interested in the

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I am very interested in the potential of computers to be a brain gym to help my special needs students overcome their cognitive weaknesses. I haven't found much out there yet.
David Woodward (not verified)

I voted no because of the

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I voted no because of the last sentence. Too many games are a waste of time. Students find quick ways to bypass anything educational in the software and quickly jump to the games where little more is learned than eye-hand coordination and the ability to shoot flying objects from the air. Computer games are playing an ever increasing role in the lives of children and our schools, but it is our responsibility as educators to demand high quality and be very selective as we make our purchases.
Dr. Bruce Spitzer (not verified)

I wholeheartedly cast my

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I wholeheartedly cast my vote for "Yes" . . . but desperately wanted to add the last sentence of the "No" description. Games must be judged, critiqued, and proven before they're used in class. And the best person to do so is the classroom teacher whose students will be using the games. To rely on a catalog description, a trade show sales pitch, or the advice of a colleague as adequate judgement is relying on the opinions of those who do not know students as intimately as the classroom teacher. Teachers should get their hands on the games and judge each games merits against the accepted state standards and learning needs of their students. If electronic games pass muster, the by all means, adopt them and use them!
Sandy McAuley (not verified)

I desperately wanted to vote

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I desperately wanted to vote "yes" because I think there is a lot of educational potential in computer-based games and simulations. However, voting "yes" with the way the questions were worded would be tantamount to supporting the same kind of naive optimism that has actually hindered the effective use of computer technology in the classroom in general.
Scott Coletti (not verified)

I am not a Gamer- So I spend

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I am not a Gamer- So I spend two weeks designing a learning experience using networks for the sixth grade elective Computers rotation. A couple of sections got through the simulation without throwing tomatoes, but it was clear from assessment and the other cues that the experience was not producing mastery understanding. Day two one of my ex students, now in high school, shows up so excited he can hardly keep both feet on the ground. He had discovered a network tank strategy game (Bolo) with alliance, chat, and teaming features. These features gave players the ability to communicate future positioning strategy, and share resources fuel, munitions, etc.. It was lunch time so we began playing each other. In walks kids from the next section of sixth graders wanting to use the computers. In fifteen minutes it was clear that my highly designed "learning experience using networks for the sixth grade" was DOA. The rest of the sixth graders learned in one period what networks were using Bolo... Uncle :-).
Maggie Richardson (not verified)

I, like Dr. Spitzer,

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I, like Dr. Spitzer, struggled with how to vote because of that last sentence in the "no" paragraph. It should have been added to the "yes" paragraph as well. I fully support the use of video games as a teaching tool but I believe strongly that they should be "judged, critiqued, and proven before they're used in class." On-screen games can be very beneficial because they are engaging to the students and I can select games that best address their individual needs. I also agree with Dr. Spitzer that the catalog descriptions and sales pitches can be very misleading so I am reluctant to invest in games without checking them out myself. Overall, I say "yes, yes, yes!" But without consideration for your individual students , I say "proceed with caution!"
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