5 Skills that can be improved by playing Video Games
Are Video Games really as bad as people say?
Video Games have often been a media scapegoat for increases in crime, especially violent crime. Many Parents and Teachers view them as a time wasting device and detrimental to a child’s development, however many studies have shown that playing video games is in fact a fantastic developmental tool.
Here are a few areas that playing Video Games can help to develop.
Many games, especially those in first-person, require the player to move their character through a space with one stick and control the character's line of sight with the other. In order to perform this action, especially at the speeds required in a first-person shooter, the player must keep track of the relative position of the character, the speed and direction the character is moving in and where they want their character to end up. At the same time they also need to be aware of enemies and their direction of movement, any obstacles on the horizon and whether they are hitting the enemy they are aiming at. As you might imagine, keeping track of all of this and inputting the necessary hand movements requires an enormous amount of hand-eye coordination as well as improved spatial awareness. Research suggests that Video Games can contribute to improvements in Spatial, Iconic and Visual attention skills.
Planning, Resource Management and Logistics
In almost every game the player is working with some type of resource, currency or commodity that they are required to manage and spend as efficiently as possible. Having access to such digital assets as well as receiving the necessary sense of value through character investment is a fantastic tool for teaching players the real-world skills. It is worth noting that many planning and architecture industry professionals were inspired to follow their career path by playing games like SimCity.
In this day and age the ability to persevere is essential, jobs are less stable and we are facing more daily challenges than ever before. Through Video Games a player can enhance their ability to persevere by repeatedly challenging difficult content and finding a strategy and the will to overcome it. In a world that is driven by unrealistic expectations and their frequent revelations we need these fundamental skills of patience and perseverance.
Inductive Reasoning and Testing Hypotheses
A professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, James Paul Gee, compared playing a video game to working through a science problem. Players are constantly coming up with and testing various hypotheses during the course of a game. Which weapon will be most effective? What is the safest path? How can I earn more gold? After coming up with a hypothesis the player must then endeavor to test it against the game and analyze the results. As goal-driven experiences, Video Games are an invaluable learning tool.
Accurate Recognition of Visual Information
Doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37 % fewer mistakes in surgery and performed the task 27% faster than non-gaming surgeons, according to a study from Beth Israel Medical Center, NY. It is believed that people playing Video Games regularly, register visual information more successfully and are faster visual learners as a result. These players are also more resistant to the negative effects of perceptual interference, and are therefore able to learn for a longer period of time in distracting environments.
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