Let’s get one thing out of the way. Stomping on yet another Koopa Troopa as you guide Mario to Princess Peach is not on par with plowing through a chapter of War & Peace.
That said, there is strong evidence that video games are a treasure trove of learning opportunities, says Fran Blumberg, Ph.D.
“Playing a video game does promote skills,” she said. “But the extent to which these skills have direct relevance on what one does in school remains to be seen.”
Blumberg, an associate professor of education and coordinator of the educational psychology program in Fordham’s Graduate School of Education, has been researching video games since 1993, and recently finished editing a book on the subject.
Learning by Playing, (Oxford, 2014), which was published in April, brings together contributors from the fields of education, learning sciences, cognitive and developmental psychology, and instructional design, to provide perspectives on the most current thinking about leisure video game play for academic classroom learning.
The book is split into four sections:
-A foundational understanding of the cognitive skills and content knowledge that children and adolescents acquire and refine during video game play.
-An exploration of game features that captivate and promote skills development among game players.
-Sections on children and adolescents’ learning in the context of different types of games and the factors that contribute to transfer of learning from video game play to the classroom.
It all comes together with recommendations for how to investigate the academic potential of video game play, particularly using those games that child and adolescent players find most compelling.
Whether that includes guiding Master Chief through battles between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant, you’ll have to read to find out.