Why Every Game Teaches Useful Skills


Why Every Game Teaches Useful Skills

We all grew up playing games. So what we can learn from them?

By Tony Wan     Sep 1, 2013

Why Every Game Teaches Useful Skills

Can't get enough of our recent gaming guide? Here's another great resource on games and learning from the folks at MindCET, the Israeli edtech innovation incubator and research lab. (Learn more about them here.) The report, "Kids & Digital Games," offers an overview of the works of Katie Salen, James Gee and other thought leaders in the field, asks notable edtech industry "grownups" about their gaming experiences, and most importantly, explores findings from a survey of 1,019 Hebrew and Arabic-speaking kids.

Unlike other reports on this topic, this one shines a spotlight on kids' perspectives on gaming. Particularly noteworthy are their responses to what they think they learned (p. 22-23), which included school subjects, "specific" tasks like managing money and fishing, critical thinking, emotional and social skills, and yes, even fighting skills. (Hmm...) Minecraft, Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto topped the list of the most popular games.

Another delight is the "Unfinished Dictionary," a glossary of everyday gaming slang compiled by the survey's 11-12 year olds, to help the gaming "noobs" catch up to speed (p. 47).

The report closes with a suggestion:

"Let us lower our guard against the negative effects of digital gaming, and try to understand its total impact, and especially its potential as a support to kids' development needs. According to kids themselves, digital games are helping them raise their self-esteem, connect them to significant others, motivate them to learn and to develop skills, and, most of all, make them feel empowered and relevant."

On that note, it's about time to go AFK to restore my HP with some food. In the meantime, here's a video teaser for the full report.

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