Saturday, May 29, 2010

Computer Video Games As Learning Tools

"People who play fast-paced computer video games have better vision, better attention and better cognition," said Daphne Bavelier, an assistant professor in the department of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester. Bavelier was a presenter at Games for Learning, a daylong symposium on the educational uses of video games and computer games held Thursday at a New York University. The event, the first of its kind, was an indication that electronic games are gaining legitimacy in the classroom. Panelists were to discuss how people learn and how games can be engineered to be even more educational.

Bavelier's research has focused on so-called first-person shooter games like Unreal Tournament and Medal of Honor in which the player is an Allied soldier during World War II. Bavelier said playing the kill-or-be-killed games can improve peripheral vision and the ability to see objects at dusk, and the games can even be used to treat amblyopia, or lazy eye, a disorder characterized by indistinct vision in one eye. She said she believes the games can improve math performance and other brain tasks.

Sigmund Tobias of the State University of New York at Albany said an Israeli air force study found that students who played the game Space Fortress had better rankings in their pilot training than students who did not. He added that students who played "pro-social" games that promote cooperation were more likely than others to help out in real-life situations like intervening when someone is being harassed.

Not everyone is a fan. Gavin McKiernan, the national grassroots director for the Parents Television Council, an advocacy group concerned about sex and violence in the media, said that when it comes to violent video games, any positive effects are outweighed by the negative. "You are not just passively watching people getting blown away," McKiernan said. "You are actually participating. Doing these things over and over again is going to have an effect."

1 comment:

  1. This has me pumped up about getting home now and getting a game on!


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