Video games can be very helpful in improving students' mental skills and problem solving abilities. Games have always had positive educational potential, but video games took it to a different level. Because of that, video games continue to cause speculation and controversy regarding their legitimacy in the classroom in particular, and in the school system in general.
The benefits of video games, from an educational perspective, are many:
– Video games attract people from all walks of life and all backgrounds. They have the ability to traverse great geo-socio-economical gaps – something mainstream education is still struggling with.
– Video games are fun and visually stimulating. There is an element of novelty to them, and because of that they can hold the student's attention and focus for longer periods of time.
– Video games can greatly influence a student's basic math, reading, and language skills, as well as his social skills. This is especially true to students belonging to a special needs group.
Controversies and scandals surrounding video games, regardless of educational purposes, can be found everywhere. It is true that many of the most popular video games these days are of a very violent and sometimes disturbing nature. However, no study has produced evidence linking video games to the negative events and attributes allegedly connected with them.
Video games in education may seem like a solution for many classroom issues which teachers are facing nowadays. However, with video games not being too cost-effective, and with schools already struggling with lower budgets, dissatisfied teachers, frustrated students, and crowded classrooms, it is difficult to say where and when video will truly be allowed to infiltrate the classrooms in America.
Video games in the classroom are not to be feared. Ultimately, it has to do with the parents and the teachers of the children involved. I grew up in the 90s, aka the “golden age” of pre-internet PC. Some of the games I played as a kid were violent, but because of my upbringing and education, I knew that there is a clear difference between life on the screen and life in the classroom.
These days, with all of the lines, limits, and boundaries we've come to know being blurred almost beyond recognition, the future of video games in the classroom is somewhat of an unsolved mystery.