Video games are also called edutainment and are games designed to offer both entertainment and education to players. For the past few years, video games have proved to be a major source of entertainment for young children and adults alike. The advancement in technology has enabled designers to come up with more games with vastly improved sounds and graphics. Video games include simulations, strategy, role-playing, puzzles adventure, and sports. Games have mainly proved useful as a source of fun for young people. Nonetheless, it is also important to note that many of them offer unique learning features to these young people. Accordingly, video games can be used as important educational tools that can help students learn how to remember things and also help them to effectively balance gender and ethnic issues. Educators can use video games to improve the learning environment for students, provide clear goals, encourage collaboration, challenge students and give them more control over the learning process. Both children and adults alike can use video games for educational purposes. In light of this, there is the need to explore the various ways in which video games can be used as educational tools.
Factors that make a Game a Fun
Many of the available video games provide great fun to young people and adults encouraging them to play more and more. If video games could be used as educational tools, students would learn a lot. All games offer numerous challenges to the players (Jayel, 2009, par.4). Each game has strategies that when used earn them different scores. The strategy that a person uses determines the mark that he or she will acquire. The challenge offered by a game makes a player want to play more and more. Almost all games have an inbuilt element of surprise, thereby providing excitement, laughter, regret, or risk to the players. The ability of the game to give a player an opportunity to play repeatedly while obtaining different results each time reduces boredom and encourages the player to keep on trying to improve their scores
Video Games as Educational Tools for Students
The video games that have been designed these days come with several features that can help a student learn a lot. Video games provide new information in the form of text or graphics. The information is unknown by the group to which the game is designed. For a young student to play the games successfully, he or she must know the instructions for the game. The game, therefore, teaches students to memorize information. Students who play games are likely to have good memory than those who do not play at all. Language diversity, cooperative group play, and character gender options are some equity issues that are addressed by video games. This is because the games allow students to interact as they compete. Video games teach students to memorize information fast (Heinich, Molenda, Russell & Smaldino, 2000, p.34). Players in a game score depending on their ability to match pairs, solve problems, or answer questions. In fact, students who play video games perform very well in mathematics basically because the games encourage them to think vigorously. In addition to these factors, these games provide for different levels that allow learners to keep advancing. The major role of the teacher is to motivate the students to play harder and reach the highest level possible. He or she also encourages competition between students so that they challenge each other.
Video Games as Educational Tools for Adults
Hi-fidelity simulations are very useful in training pilots. They produce particular situations that are consistent with some other situations where learners are expected to participate. They allow learners to manipulate variables that are quite unalterable (Prensky, 2000, p.19). Players see what would happen if the level of oxygen or raising the temperature levels. These games also allow players to observe the way systems behave with time. Some other allows learners to watch the behaviors of a system for very many years. A learner can assume the position of another person like that of a president and play his or her role. The games have characteristics that help students visualize systems in three dimensions.
Video games are important tools that educators can use in teaching students. They are not only beneficial to young students but also to adults. The games have been previously used to provide fun to young students but the trends have recently changed. There are many factors that make a game fun. Factors such as challenge, surprise, and replayability are examples. Video games teach students to memorize, think faster, and generally improve performance. There are some video games that are more complex and used by more developed students in their studies. Such games allow them to manipulate different variables and see the effect on the environment.
Heinich, R., Molenda, M., Russell, J.D., & Smaldino, S.E. (2000). Instructional Media And Technologies For Learning. (5th Ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Jayel, G. (2009). Are Video Games Educational. Web.
Prensky, M. (2000). Digital Game-Based Learning. New York: McGraw Hill.