Video Game Boosts Learning

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Remember when video games were bad for you? Mom and Dad would complain about how they tied up the television, kept you from playing outdoors, ruined your eyesight and wasted your time. That’s a thing of the past. Re-tooled videogames are now helping children and teens boost basic skills in reading, writing and math.

At West Nottinghamshire College in the U.K., computer science teachers were struggling to get teenage students into literacy and numeracy classes. The college needed to take drastic measures to assist “disaffected students”.

The resolution came in the form of Neverwinter Nights, Atari’s popular computer game. Teachers rebuilt the game to deliver educational challenges players must tackle in order to progress.

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From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by whitespace.


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Because a thing has learning value does not mean it is a good choice for learning. Toddlers learn vocabulary words watching baby videos. Undeniable. Yet, research shows those toddlers overall have a poorer vocabulary than toddlers not stuck in front of a screen. Meaning, kids pick up more words observing real human interaction and/or having books read to them.

Now, here we're talking about boosting basic skills among "disaffected learners." I find this news report mostly depressing because it indicates some kids are so damaged that they need this sort of stimulus to learn. It's not the same thing as being a visual learner. It's an attention deficit and emotional disorder issue. Maybe altered video games are the best avenue for this narrow group of kids, but I'll cry on the day it becomes a mainstream educational tool for basic subjects.
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Well, at least there is SOME redeeming value to NWN, because I played it for a while and just couldn't stand it. Everything was horrible about that game.
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