This week’s article discusses the educational benefits of video games (Squire, 2008). As Squire (2008) notes, “to date, concerns about the ‘bad effects’ of games have perhaps caused educators to miss the real message behind the medium” (p. 119). I think that this quote describes me to some extent as I was a bit weary about the how video games can be utilized in the classroom. However, after reading the article, I have a better understanding of how video games can support learning and have begun to think of ways I could incorporate them into my practice. I like the idea that online games provide “affinity spaces” for which students can explore and develop into experts (Squire, 2008, p. 113). This could be used during a social studies unit to have students explore early civilization through Minecraft, for example. Video games could also be utilized to encourage class discussions and peer collaboration. This medium is highly social in nature and promotes a participatory culture within the classroom (Squire, 2008). It provides students with a meaningful experience. Experiential learning can be especially useful when teaching ESL students. For example, it can be used as an opportunity to teach students about key vocabulary. I can see how using video games with ESL students can provide an opportunity to develop their language skills in an engaging way.
While I am seeing more ways to integrate video games into my teaching practice, I still believe that students would benefit from realizing possible negative consequences of over using them. For example, teachers should talk about addiction and the possible impact on one’s health. Students should be exposed to a complete picture of video games where they can reap the benefits but also understand the potential harm. Gaming is an example of a teaching strategy that ought to be used in conjunction with other useful tools in order to provide students with an optimal learning environment.
Squire, K. (2008). Chapter seven: critical education in an interactive age. Counterpoints, 338, 105-123. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/stable/42979224