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Playing Computer Games in Class? Risk or Reward?

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The group discussion I participated in was asking whether playing computer games should only be allowed as a reward in the class room. The majority of responses in this discussion were against the notion of only using computer games as a reward and focused heavily on the entertainment and engaging value of computer games and how that can be better utilised in today's educational framework. I agree with this notion and contributed two separate reasons as to why. Firstly as stated by Kim, B., Park, H., & Baek, Y. (2009), the importance of the interactivity that is associated with computer games and how important it is to keep a student engaged in order for them to learn. This point was covered across most discussions. Secondly was the development of meta-cognition and valuable problem solving skill that can be developed through the use of computer games. Individuals with greater meta-cognitive skills are expected to learn more effectively because they monitor their progress, determine when they are having problems, and adjust their learning accordingly (Ford, JK., 1998) There was also opposition to the use of computer games, this was argued that the computer games had significant health risks associated with the over indulgence of continuous play. Stating the lack of physical activity and its effects on fitness in young children, and also developing repetitive movement disorders and carpel tunnel at early ages was a concern. However the benefits and potential educational development that can be accessed through the incorporation of computer games for more than just rewards in the classroom, far outweigh the mild risks of potential health issues that can be avoided with appropriate precautions.

Personal Argument

Learning is believed to be at its best when it is goal oriented, contextual, interesting, challenging and interactive (Morris S Y Jong, Junjie Shang, Fong-Lok Lee, & Jimmy H M Lee. (2008). According to Owston, R., Wideman, H., Ronda, N. S., & Brown, C. (2009), more than eight in ten (83%) of young people have a video game console at home, and majority (56%) have two or more. Computer games have taken over as the medium choice of entertainment and have tremendous potential and levels of capability as mediums of education (Jayakanthan, R., (2002). The reason for this because computer games are 'goal oriented, contextual, interesting, challenging and interactive', to not acknowledge the potential of computer games is ignorant, to deny the learning opportunities for students through computer games as a common medium is destructive. Computer games should NOT be only used as rewards in the classroom as the restriction of so much information and valuable skills that emerge from game play is too vital for students' future development to be left up to a petty reward system. Teaching is progressing more and more towards a active-learner-centred learning from constructivist theories which focus on cognitive engagement and the relationship between, motivation, learning processes, and learning strategies for supporting self regulated learning (Dickey, M. D. (2005). This essay focuses on the benefits and educational potential computer games have, and how they represent a new medium for learning for 21st century teachers and students.

The world is evolving in leaps and bounds through technological barriers faster than anyone can keep up. It is the new generations of kids or "digital natives" (Owston, R., Wideman, H., Ronda, N. S., & Brown, C. (2009) that are emerging victorious; this is a generation that demands interactivity in every media, and this makes the evolution of educational tools inevitable (Ntiedo Etuk. (2008). Those trying to resist this inevitable development will be left in the dust with their pen and paper in hand. Educational institutions need to transform their systems and instructional practices to take greater advantage of new technology, including computer games (Owston, R., Wideman, H., Ronda, N. S., & Brown, C. (2009). Games as a whole are one of the most interesting ways for students to learn new things (Jayakanthan, R., (2002) and as computer games have taken over as the most popular form of entertainment the only thing left to establish is the pedagogical links. Teachers today have a very wide variety of tools more than ever before, however to use them effectively old techniques need to be refined (Jayakanthan, R., (2002). Pedagogical



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