Work hard. Play hard. This is the trade-off that is ingrained in us from an early age. Finish your homework and then go play. But, what if working and playing became one? This is what we strive to do at 7 Generation Games. Students can solve math problems and learn all while playing a game. Keeping a child’s attention is not easy. Keeping a child’s attention and keeping them entertained is an even greater Herculean task unless you make it fun. These are some reasons why games are a good way to learn:
Learning from Mistakes
When playing a game, the stakes aren’t high. If you lose, the consequences are rarely serious or lasting. You can always start the game over and try again. You can recover during a game. For example, if you went left instead of going right, you immediately
learned from your mistake and can go back and try again. Most importantly, as you might learn if you get an answer wrong in Making Camp, “getting the wrong answer won’t kill you.”
Traditionally, people have always been told that hard work is the way to improve performance. However, recent research shows that the idea of work more, play less may not be totally accurate. When analyzing the areas of stress, anxiety, creativity and self-efficacy, neurosciences show that playing more improves performance and learning. Renowned author and educational leader, Eric Jensen wrote in his book, “The Learning Brain” that when you are enjoying yourself and laughing your chemical balance changes. This change causes a boost in the production of neurotransmitters needed for alertness and memory.
70% of gamers play with their friends. During these games, players work together towards a common goal, can compete against other players or both. This can take a variety of forms, from playing together in games that allow players to interact to watching another person play a game to competing for higher scores and more. Studies have shown that children with positive social skills are more likely to have good self-esteem, better relationships with their peers and achieve in school. They are also more likely to grow-up and have successful marriages and careers.
More Accurate Assessments
Usually, tests and quizzes are used to assess a student’s progress and abilities, but they really only show a small part of how the student is doing. On the other hand, video games can provide highly detailed statistics in real-time. Data is collected every step of the way which offers immediate context and feedback for a child’s development and specific learning habits. At 7 Generation Games, we provide educators analytic data reports so they can see how their students are doing.
During a national survey, 78% of teachers said digital games helped improve low-performing students’ mastery of curricular content and skills. Low-performing students are often disengaged with what’s going on in the classroom. These struggling students require more individualized learning plans that a teacher may not be able to provide. We’ve seen this firsthand. During efficacy testing, students in the experimental group showed 300% improvement over the control group – with even greater improvement for kids who were below grade level. Furthermore, in the same survey, 71% of teachers said the students also improved their mastery of extra-curricular skills (technology, communication, etc.) Games motivate these students to make stronger efforts to succeed while also helping them with their ability to focus and pay attention.
In the last year alone, game-based learning investments increased 20%. More teachers are using games and incorporating blended learning. Adults who grew up playing video games are now becoming parents. We live in a digital world where your bank account, social media accounts, and favorite games are all at the palm of your hand. The digital age paired with supporting research prove video games are not only a good way to learn but also becoming a more popular way to learn.