Violent Video Games as Learning Tool

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Something positive, for once.

You're at the front lines shooting Nazis before they shoot you. Or you're a futuristic gladiator in a death match with robots.

Either way, you're playing a video game — and you may be improving your vision and other brain functions, according to research presented Thursday at a New York University conference on games as a learning tool.

"People that play these fast-paced games have better vision, better attention and better cognition," said Daphne Bavelier, an assistant professor in the department of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester.

Bavelier was a presenter at Games for Learning, a daylong symposium on the educational uses of video games and computer games.

The event, the first of its kind, was an indication that electronic games are gaining legitimacy in the classroom.

President Barack Obama recently identified the creation of good educational software as one of the "grand challenges for American innovation," and the federal Department of Education's assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Jim Shelton, attended Thursday's conference.

Panelists discussed how people learn and how games can be engineered to be even more educational.

"People do learn from games," said J. Dexter Fletcher of the Institute for Defense Analyses.

Sigmund Tobias of the State University of New York at Albany said an Israeli air force study found that students who played the game "Space Fortress" had better rankings in their pilot training than students who did not.

He added that students who played "pro-social" games that promote cooperation were more likely than others to help out in real-life situations like intervening when someone is being harassed.

Bavelier's research has focused on so-called first-person shooter games like "Unreal Tournament" and "Medal of Honor," in which the player is an Allied solder during World War II.

"You have to jump into vehicles, you have to crouch and hide," said Tammy Schachter, a spokeswoman for game developer Electronic Arts Inc.

Bavelier said playing the kill-or-be-killed games can improve peripheral vision and the ability to see objects at dusk, and the games can even be used to treat amblyopia, or lazy eye, a disorder characterized by indistinct vision in one eye.

She said she believes the games can improve math performance and other brain tasks.

"We are testing this hypothesis that when you play an action video game, what you do is you learn to better allocate your resources," she said. "In a sense you learn to learn. ... You become very good at adapting to whatever is asked of you."

Bavelier believes the games will eventually become part of school curriculums, but "it's going to take a generation."

Schachter said the purpose of "Medal of Honor" and other games is to have fun, and any educational benefits are a bonus.

"Through entertainment these games test your memory skills, your eye-hand coordination, your ability to detect small activities on the screen and interact with them," she said.

Not everyone is a fan.

Gavin McKiernan, the national grassroots director for the Parents Television Council, an advocacy group concerned about sex and violence in the media, said that when it comes to violent video games, any positive effects are outweighed by the negative.

"You are not just passively watching Scarface blow away people," McKiernan said. "You are actually participating. Doing these things over and over again is going to have an effect."

Bavelier said games could be developed that would harness the positive effects of the first-person shooter games without the violence.

"As you know, most of us females just hate those action video games," she said. "You don't have to use shooting. You can use, for example, a princess which has a magic wand and whenever she touches something, it turns into a butterfly and sparkles."
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100528/ap_on_en_ot/us_games_for_learning
 
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So I have heard that fast paced games might make someone not concentrated in long activities, such as paying attention in a 45 mins class.

I am not sure about the math part of "better cognition". How does playing FPS games will help me process information better?

What I do agree is that it does ask you to adapt to different situations and planning ahead.
 
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Yeah. Playing video games does help. :D
 
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I don't really see how much it doesn't help.
Ofc.. you damage your eyes and ****.
But hey! You learn a lot of things, too!
 
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You don't damage your eyes by watching a TV screen, as far as I know. At least not modern ones which no longer emit any kind of x-ray radiation.
 
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I learned right and wrong from playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle beat-em-ups on the Sega Genesis.
 
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As Jack Thompson would say, I "trained on a murder simulator" known as Doom 2.

Wahoo~
 
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Hey, TMNT had story!

Doom II had Mars and rabies. :/
 
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I'm stuck on Doom 2 right now. ****ing XBLA. IDDQD doesn't work on consoles, damnit.
 
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Hey, TMNT had story!

Doom II had Mars and rabies. :/
You're thinking of the movie. Doom 2 was about Hell on Earth. Nothing about Mars or rabies.
 
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Hell = Rabies from Mars
 

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