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Computer games should be used in class instruction

Captivated+by+interactive+educational+games%2C+students+huddle+over+their+computer+excited+to+learn.+
Captivated by interactive educational games, students huddle over their computer excited to learn.

Captivated by interactive educational games, students huddle over their computer excited to learn.

Photo Credit: Frankie Brock

Photo Credit: Frankie Brock

Captivated by interactive educational games, students huddle over their computer excited to learn.

By: Frankie Brock, Fall Editor and Reporter

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With technology being integrated into our everyday lives, many teachers believe gaming as an educational tool could be utilized. Therefore, students will have more engagement in the learning process.

Technology introduced by both guardians and teachers reaches children at surprisingly young ages. Educators are drifting away from pencil and paper designated work and opting for a more digitized approach. “We typically see educational games teach decision-making explicitly. But playing almost any game requires students to engage their critical thinking skills. When playing games, students must learn to carefully navigate new environments, thinking through all possible options and outcomes,” says  Jenny Windom from Rubicon International.

Colonia High School students and teachers express their thoughts on educational computer games. History teacher Drew Biri feels that games that pertain to the lesson should absolutely be utilized. In teaching his class he uses games like the Oregon Trail to connect his lessons to technology. Biri believes that it is important to make a connection between educational content and interactive games and have some fun as well.  Biri talks about educational games in a positive manner. Expressing his thoughts he says “In my US II course, we play the game of Risk.  There is a board game and a computer version.  Five years later, I still see former students who immediately run up to me and start talking about Risk.  From there, I can transition into a discussion about imperialism.  Games that are fun and relate-able is what it’s about.”

Many students understand that there must be a healthy balance between education and fun. “They can be harmful when available at all times. Kids can abuse that power and use them for games and things that don’t pertain to the class. But they can also be helpful if they are relevant to the class material. They may even help students to retain the information they are trying to learn,” expressed junior Emily Anan on the subject of the effectiveness of interactive computer-based games. Anan explained that her preferred methods of learning include taking notes, reading the textbook, artistic posters or presentations, and interactive games. She also believes that variety is important and having fun while learning is truly what matters most.

English teacher at Colonia High School Mrs. Allen, uses a rather popular game to teach her students. Allen uses the world famous game Mine Craft in her project of the recreation of the globe theater. Students must rebuild a replica of the theater and some have even gone to the extent of burning it down in accordance with the theater’s history. Allen explains that the project is very effective for students on the shy side, who don’t necessarily want to present in front of the class. It is the perfect project for students who need to come out of their shell. Students become Invested in their projects and work hard because it is something they enjoy.

Technologists aim for educational games that are immersive and relevant, experiential and authentic, collaborative and fulfilling.  Top educational games for children include Math Ninja, Stack the Countries, and Hangman. Downloaded on tablets and computers, educational apps prove to be a productive way to pass time. 

In July of 2012, Bill Gates spoke at the education commission of the states annual conference. Over the last two decades, Gates has redefined home computing and helped shape the technological world. In his speech, he proclaimed, “Imagine if  kids poured their time and passion into a video game that taught them math concepts while they barely noticed because it was so enjoyable.”  His statement amplifies the importance of the inclusion of educational computer games in a school environment.

Video games have been proven to teach children problem-solving skills, overcome learning obstacles, enhance memory and concentration, and teach team building skills.  Video game learning can reach children who are having a hard time learning via books and tests. When learning is fun, children are not as resistant to it. No child is impossible to teach. Children learn differently and is time for the educational system to include educational games that help students to learn and progress.

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Computer games should be used in class instruction