Video Games Help Kids Learn Real Good

I knew it.

I knew it. Thank you science for confirming what we already knew. Video games are great and they make you super smart. S.M.A.R.T.

A study conducted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology tested over 12,000 Australian 15-year-olds in maths, reading and science and attempted to correlate the results with internet usage and time spent playing video games.

Interesting results: excessive internet usage was linked to poorer academic results. The main culprits being social media sites like Facebook. Students who hardly used these sites tended to score higher.

Even more interesting results: students who played online video games tended to score higher. "Gameplay appears to equip students to apply and sharpen knowledge learned in school by requiring them to solve a series of puzzles before moving to the next game level," wrote Alberto Posso, the man behind the study.

Well there you go.

Should we be telling our kids to can their Facebook account and play Overwatch non-stop? Not exactly. The study cited earlier research that showed excessive game play — particularly with violent video games — tended to negatively affect academic performance. The study did state, however, that, "on the margin, playing video games and limiting online social network activities should have some positive effect on performance, at least on generalized tests".

The study also suggested that schools should continue using video games for educational purposes.

(I'm pretty sure they were probably talking about Minecraft. Everyone approves of Minecraft, right! It's like LEGO. LEGO is great.)

God bless you science.

You can read the whole study here.


    Well. Superman does good. U betta lern ur gramma.

    Very keen to digest this properly at some point soon.

    Interesting to hear about this earlier study re: prolonged playing of violent games and academic performance. Any academics interested in the gaming habits of young Australians should get on that yesterday. I haven't checked the weekly charts for Australian retail purchases for a good while now, but is GTA5 still appearing in the top 5 every time? I'd have thought everybody in Australia in that games' classification range who wanted to play that by now would have done by now at least. It couldn't be anybody else but children getting it now, surely?

    Maybe it's every newly-turned 18 year old's most sought after birthday present....

    Well yes. I can guarantee you they generally do. However it's also too simplistic to say *all* videogames do. Some have benefits, some don't. Games like Minecraft, games that enhance and challenge your cognitive thinking process, absolutely do. Games that make you think laterally, ones that make you consider options, problem solve, think of cause and effect, undoubtedly.

    But there's also games that don't. I'm not going to get into which I believe personally don't, as it'll start a shitfight between people who say otherwise, but I will say this is a topic spoken about a LOT in staffrooms by teachers in schools. We recognise the value of videogames and Minecraft and other building games, other exploration games, are valued, endorsed and promoted. We look into incorporating them into the classroom.

    I put together this video last year to engage Year 9 students in their War Poetry unit in English:

    This video alone opened up a dialogue in heaps of different ways through a Pilot class (the high level class) all the way down to an English Extension class, with students all offering great insight, as students these days are majorly engaged in videogames, male and female, to some large degree. They found that games allowed them to access the units materials and by being able to use them to relate to the material, the managed to access it, I'm not taking full credit but I am saying that by showing them via that video, they managed to make that connection. So I fully support the idea that games help children learn and have genuine value in our education system.

    But social media still has its place in education when used effectively, strangely enough, it's just rarely used effectively and generally becomes a tool of procrastination. But I will say I've had the best time working movies, music, games and pop culture into nearly every single lesson and my students goddamn well love it because it makes connections to their real world outside school, which is heavily important.

    Last edited 09/08/16 2:23 pm

    I remember reading a similar study a few weeks ago but on educating through games/gamification and it concluded that while it can have benefits in helping children's learning, the big factor is still the skill and dedication of the teacher.

      110% this. ICT resources are only as good as the teacher applying them. If you don't utilise them properly they can have the opposite effect and set a student back. If you throw Minecraft at the kid, don't be surprised if the child gets NO benefit from it.

      However, if you put together a lesson plan say, about geometry? And use Educational Minecraft? You'd be amazed at what kids come out with!

        The teacher is absolutely important, but I suspect what the study is describing is the passive effect that playing video games improves problem-solving, analysis, visualisation and spatial awareness, which then lead to better quality learning and knowledge retention. While a lesson plan would amplify the effect, the impression I get from the study's conclusion is that throwing Minecraft at a kid usually will have a positive effect just in terms of brain improvement, independent of any attached education.

        Last edited 09/08/16 3:55 pm

          Absolutely, it's a situation where everything can contribute to a positive side. A teacher can amplify an already beneficial tool but that tool will already have great benefits to that kid. I personally endorse Minecraft and any building style game to parents who ask. They generally, generally, perceive these games as wastes of time, but I keep telling them they're not. Just like with anything in life, moderation is key. But games such as this, such as even Starmade, or whatnot, are games that really test the limits of kids imaginations and abilities. Like you said, the game is the greatest effect, but throw in that person (in the right environment of course), who knows how to get that little bit more out of it while keeping it fun and not turning it into work and its even better (and christ knows, Ive seen people turn Minecraft into work :\ )

    Heh! Joke's on Mark, it's S.M.R.T., not S.M.A.R.T.!

      You definitely Simpsons very good. OH wait no, that's wrong. I meant goodly. You definitely Simpsons very goodly.

        You embiggened the word goodly in a perfectly cromulent way.

    @markserrels Your article was nice and all, but I think we really need our resident expert on video games, Jon Jonno Jonson, to do a proper writeup on this new development.

    Fancy that, they've found that the digital equivalent of real world activities has exactly the same effect on a child's education. Spending all your time socialising or engaging in activities with no educational benefit don't help a child learn but engaging in activities that have educational benefits do.

    Last edited 09/08/16 3:57 pm

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