Still Think Video Games Are A Waste Of Time?

27 Feb

As I began to read the chapter, Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a “Waste of Time”?, by James Dan Gee I was thinking to myself that they are. Too many people waster their time playing COD, Mario Kart, Wii, or anything else that is a current X-Box or Playstation game. However, I think position has changed. While reading James Dan Gee’s article something popped into my head, and something that I am a huge support of in school: The iPad.

Dan Gee made many valuable points about what video games have to offer students. iPads have a lot to offer students and this comes from the thousands of different apps that Apple has created. There are apps that do everything, and there are apps that teach students something. A lot of those are in the forms of games that teach students colors, math, shapes, alphabet, about space, writing prompts, vocabulary, and spelling. Shouldn’t we consider apps on the iPad as video games? This is why my position on these times of video games have changed, and I feel that I can’t be a full supporter of the use of iPads in the classroom if I do not support the use of video games to teach important skills for students.

Another reason my position changed is because Dan Gee listed that, “When we learn in a new semiotic domain we learn in a more active way,” because we learn through experience or through “play,” we can gather resources, and interact in a social group or with other people (Dan Gee, 24). These three reasons are also very supportive in my argument that iPads should be used in the classroom when ever possible or at home for students to continue their education outside of the classroom to reinforce ideas. The iPad has numerous opportunities for students who need extra resources, who may be special needs, or are a part of an enrichment program at school. The iPad has almost unlimited resources for students, and some video games may have these as well.

As I still remain against young adults and teenagers wasting hours upon hours on X-Box live playing COD. I can see that it does teach critical thinking, hand-eye coordination and problem solving; however, I still don’t see COD as a form of literacy in today’s word. But, I can see that applications on the iPad can teach critical thinking, problem solving, and be an enforcement of literacy. I have conflicting values. Furthermore, I can see both sides of the fence and cannot decide which side I want to permanently place my feet.

Video games can be beneficial for young students, but I still don’t think I am completely sold on giving children video games to be an enforced form of literacy. Yes, they can be good as a part of a balanced education, which does not seem to be happening. I know numerous people that can spend hours on X-box, an iPhone, and even the iPad when they should be writing a paper or reading for their class the next day. From before reading the article to reflecting on it after, I have some new information and different ideas about how video games can be beneficial. However, like previously mentioned I still need to be offered more information and data to be completely sold.

Video: Academic Benefits of Computer & Video Games

Video: School with no Papers and just iPads


One Response to “Still Think Video Games Are A Waste Of Time?”

  1. Another Gamer February 28, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    You know, I’m going to take the “agnostic” view here and say that you can’t truly make a blanket statement about whether or not video games help people learn. There are some that ABSOLUTELY do, like games that involve typing things, or puzzle games (like Portal, or simpler Flash puzzle games) that promote critical thinking and applying a set of tools and abilities to various situations to succeed.

    I do think, however, that (good) video games used to help the player learn the rules of the game, versus using a tutorial to teach them. An excellent example is Megaman X, where the mechanics of the game are almost entirely illustrated without any textual explanation in a (more or less) safe environment for the player to learn. And I think that is way more condusive to children learning than an extensive tutorial explaining everything, that so many games offer today. To teach someone to play a game is one thing, but to give them an environment that forces them to figure it out for themselves is much more beneficial.

    Having said all that, I think you’re mistaking “technology” for “video games.” Programs like Mavis Beacon Typing or Math Blaster are not (and should not) be considered video games, and they are very similar to the apps you’re talking about. Apps that use aspects of gaming for the primary purpose of teaching aren’t video games, they’re teaching tools. Only when a program’s primary purpose is entertainment can it truly be called a video game. And I have a feeling that with THAT definition, you probably can conclude that they don’t have any place in our education system (although they truly may help educate our children).

    Sorry for the long comment. It’s an insightful post you have here.

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