One of the leading schools of thought surrounding game playing in the classroom is MIT’s Education Arcade. In one of their most popular white papers, researchers found that “Game players regularly exhibit persistence, risk-taking, attention to detail, and problem solving, all behaviors that ideally would be regularly demonstrated in school.”
I’m a gamer, and I’m proud of it. I play because I view games as a kind of cultural achievement, but I’m not immediately aware of the kind of brain activity I’m experiencing when I start up a game on my computer. But when I look at MIT’s quote above, I suddenly recognize my own behavior. I take risks in a game every time I try to do something challenging. I pay attention to the environment and gain an appreciation for detail. With the dozens of puzzle games I play, I think critically about how to solve problems. This is valuable, educational brain activity that’s taking place in my adult mind, and it’s no wonder that researchers and educators are starting to pay closer attention to how this kind of thinking can influence younger minds.
In a new infographic produced by Online Schools and released last week, we take a look at some statistics about educational gameplay. The graphic suggests that students are motivated by games because it offers them control over their actions and access to experiential learning. And on a simply biological level, games are fun! They produce dopamine which in turn stimulates the neurons on the brain that are the physical basis for learning.
Click on the graphic for a full resolution image.