How Science Can Be Taught Through Video Games?

Every technology and its offshoots have a purpose behind its use.

If they are used in the right way, their benefits can be harnessed adequately. Say for instance, did you ever think how video games can help instructors teach science better? Or can video games be educational?

Well, it’s somewhat a news for the science teachers that using video games in their pedagogical process can actually be good for them. Reason being, video games have the potential to inspire learning, help learners improve their coordination and visual skills, enhance logical thinking, literacy and executive skills. Apart from this, various research shows that playing video-game improves basic mental abilities. So if you have been only hearing of the negative points on video game such like, it makes students socially isolated, obese and promote violence, clear off your wrong notions.   

Game designers themselves admit that game playing is a lot like science. It includes everything from problem-solving to exploration to collaboration to hypothesizing to testing and learning from one’s failures. And there is no denying to the fact that this platform has a captivating power so if it is used properly as an educational platform, it can engage students in seeking for knowledge.

With video games, the students get to participate in the actions and simultaneously solve problems. There are few games which even allow students to make changes in the game to allow new possibilities.

When James Paul Gee was writing a book entitled, “What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy”, he was studying for 2 to 3 years on social influences of video games. Out of his observation, he found that, a number of young gamers become computer science majors in college. Gee even went on to say that “Kids today are natives in a culture in which their parents are immigrants.”

Playing Video Games & Learning Science Together

Unlike the olden days, today the library gallery of most of institutions are full of applied games and games with purpose. Such kind of games help in increasing the natural curiosity and playfulness in the search for new knowledge.

In actuality ‘science can also be a key inspiration for video games.’ This is perhaps because, it implants real-world ideas into the game. So you have on the one hand game world ideas and on the other that of the real world and this combination finally helps in sharing the science with players.

Games like Foldit which is a popular game in the field of biochemistry helps players unfold the three-dimensional structure of proteins. There is a simulated protein displayed on the computer screen and when students actually manipulate it, they slowly get to learn on the protein structure. But to do so, they have to first observe the various constraints aligned to the real world. Such constraints may be the order of amino acid and how close to each other their biochemical properties permit them to get.

In this regard, the University of Missouri-Columbia is working on a video game to help middle school distance learners learn science with keen interest in the subject. They say, this was important because they had identified a growing need to offer high quality educational approach in middle schools. There was a rising trend in students getting disengaged with studies, particularly science because of the inability to grasp scientific concepts. To know more on it, click here.

To conclude, having talked much on the key benefits of video games in science learning, we would like to recommend the science teachers to first teach the students on effective use of any educational tool. Once understood, we are sure the students will learn how to make optimum use of any platform and not the otherwise around for the healthy growth of students cognitive skills.

Also, before we wrap up fully, we would like to know your views on the topic for a discussion and deeper insight on the topic. Feel free to share your views through your comments.

About the Author
Author: Ananya DebroyWebsite: http://edtechreview.in
Ananya is currently working as the Content Manager at EdTechReview. She has a keen interest in Ed Tech and the ways in which it is strengthening the education sector as a whole. She is an avid reader and loves to meet relevant people & unleash new updates on various innovations in the EdTech world as it indirectly helps her pen down well-researched blogs on the niche. Follow her @AnanyaDebRoy

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