News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Utilize video games
to enhance learning

Three decades ago, parents and teachers believed that comic books were a waste of time. They believed that children would be better off reading about Dick, Jane and Flip.

Nonetheless, a generation developed reading skills perusing the pages of Marvel and DC comics, following the exploits of Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman and Superman. While some students were content to “see Flip run,” others preferred the fictional realms of their comic-book superheroes. Both groups learned to read. Some enjoyed the learning process more than others.

Parents and teachers today believe that children spend too much time playing video games when they could be studying. But the Federation of American Scientists declared this week that video games could redefine and revolutionize education.

Capping a year of study, the group called for public and private research into how the addictive pizzazz of video games can be converted into serious learning tools for schools.

“Common sense tells us that a medium so basic to the lives of these ‘millennials’ has potential beyond the living room,” said Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association. “We would be crazy not to seek ways to exploit interactive games to teach our children.”

Research has shown that children do not all learn in the same way. While some gain knowledge from books and lectures, others learn more readily from hands-on activities.

There is no question that games can teach valuable skills such as analytical thinking, team building, multitasking and problem-solving under pressure.

With more than 45 million video-game consoles already in homes and children eager to play with them, it would be foolish not to pursue software that teaches as well as entertains.

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