Games can be an additional element in children’s education, but adults must accompany the learning process. This year the school curriculum in neighboring Poland will be upgraded for the first time with a computer game. The initiative is the responsibility of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and concerns only high schools. The popularity of computer games among children cannot be ignored. Is it possible to combine computer games and school education?
It has long been understood that teaching through interactive activities is much more productive than simply reading material from a book. Indeed, nowadays a lot of students are looking for history homework help that will bring them a grade, but did the teacher really want such an outcome? It might be better to think about changing the form of the lesson or to face reality: today’s children will not do anything just because they have to. They need valid reasons.
Game This War of Mine, created by Polish developers, is based on actual events. In Europe, it received a rating of 18 +, and therefore, the school academic program will be used precisely for this age. The decision of the Polish state officials is very innovative: despite its popularity in the world, part of the official curriculum has not been computer games.
Nevertheless, we can not say that the teachers completely omitted them in their work. For example, the computer game Minecraft, famous even among young students, has a different version of MinecraftEdu, which has been used in schools in the U.S., Europe, and Australia for years. It is trendy in geography, physics, chemistry, biology, and history classes. The tools of the game allow you to create cities, learn the theory of improbability, conduct chemical experiments, and simulate the structure of the human body. The phenomenon interested Canadian researchers, who found that children develop skills of teamwork and problem-solving during the game.
The creators of another popular game, Assassin’s Creed, went even further. In 2018 and 2019, they released additional titles Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt and Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – truly interactive textbooks on the history of ancient Egypt and Greece. With the participation of professional historians, game developers have prepared specialized short lectures on the political order and philosophy, everyday life and lifestyle, wars, and myths. “Guides” are real and mythical characters, and at the end of each tour, you can test the knowledge gained in the “educational” mode of the game played by millions of players. In one of the middle schools in Richmond (California, USA), students used it for additional extracurricular activities.
The coronavirus pandemic has made an impact on traditional school education. Online learning requires teachers to be somewhat creative, and computer games, in turn, can replace interactive classrooms, courses, or even lessons. During the lockdown, middle school teacher Charles Coomber from San Diego (USA) decided to use the capabilities of the new game Half-Life: Alyx in order to conduct a video lesson on geometry. Posting it on his Twitter page, he received a flurry of comments and became a mister. Moreover, Japanese elementary school students organized their graduation party in the game Minecraft through the quarantine.
However, not everything is so unambiguous with computer games. Children pay attention to electronic games at an early age: they attract the little one’s attention with their bright light and various sounds. At the same time, according to research data, the interaction with such toys can cause a decrease in the quality and quantity of language in children: the toys activate the primitive orienting reflex but do not initiate communication with an adult.
The very parent must accompany the process of learning, which is inherent in the child from birth, encouraging them to share feelings and enter into a dialogue relationship: receive support, transfer their desire, their opinion. It is better not to fixate the child on specific gadgets, unique interactive in the video: they do not have to call for communication, spontaneously push something to the mouth – especially at an early age. The same analogy can be made with computers or smartphones.
In the new conditions, it will not be possible to limit the use of gadgets ultimately. However, paying attention to what your child is doing on the computer or smartphone is essential. Hold the phone in their hands – does not mean to do something wrong: often children just looking for valuable information, writing music, something to read. If there is enough physical activity and positive communication in a child’s life, everything is normal, concludes the psychologist.