Video games have emerged as one of the most popular entertainment choices among the young children and the youths. The advancements in the computing technologies have also led to the tremendous growth of the video gaming industry, and it is reasonable to argue video gaming industry now almost rivals the motion picture and music industry in terms of reach and influence. One just needs to look at the wide range of gaming genres now such as fighting, sports, fantasy, shooter, and horror. Not surprisingly, many stakeholders including the parents and the policymakers are concerned about the potential economic and social costs of the video games to the society such as time wasted and children’s exposure to age-inappropriate content. But it is also important to realize the tremendous positive potential of video games such as in the education field. Research studies have demonstrated video games can be used to improve psychological and intellectual being of people (Mcpheron, 2015).Video games could be understood as computer programs due to their software nature. Arcade games, home computer games, and gaming consoles first became widely available to the public during the 1970s and the 1980s (Mcpheron, 2015). Since then, video games have become part of the modern entertainment cultures across the world. But in addition to their entertainment value, the video games can also help young people improve their psychological and intellectual capabilities because many skills required in playing video games such as creativity also have practical value in the real world. Moreover, video games also help young people improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Video games hold educational value both in and outside the classroom. Sandford argues, “In many societies, the use of digital games in formal education has been seen by policy-makers as a technological innovation capable of contributing to national efforts to remain competitive in a global economy: in the light of these motivations, it is unsurprising that the practical use of games in schools continues to be explored”(67). It is apparent video games can be used to enhance the overall learning experiences of young people in the formal educational environments such as the schools.
Video games can be complex in nature, and the advancements in the video gaming technologies only further complicate the issue of copyright protection. Moreover, video games now incorporate audiovisual elements, and the users have significant room in experiencing different elements of the game play. Video games were first developed in the 1950s when academicians first started designing simulations and games to support their research projects. Arcade games, home computer games, and gaming consoles were later introduced to the public in the 1970s and the 1980s after which video games became an integral part of the modern societies (Mcpheron, 2015).
A video game can help promote mental and cognitive development, especially, in young people. In addition to improving creative potential, the video games also help people improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The teachers can determine the effectiveness of the video games in a classroom environment by evaluating the knowledge of their students both before and after playing a video game. Teachers who have not specialized in ICT, may find it difficult to employ video games in the classrooms. There are, indeed, certain negative perceptions of the video games in the society but Sandford reminds us, “For teachers, the use of games in a formal curriculum setting can present practical and operational issues, as well as surfacing more fundamental tensions: between generational expectations of games and technology, between home and school identities, and between pedagogies associated with accounts of games as learning tools and those more commonly embraced within the context of formal schooling” (67).
It is clear the videogames should be employed in the school environments because they help young people improve their creative potential. The video games also assist people with improving their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The skills learned by playing video games have wide applications in the real world. Thus, the entertainment value of the video games is just an added bonus.
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