Yes, we lived to see some good, decent research. Glasgow University has just confirmed some fantastic data about computer games - so you'll be very pleased. We've had a hard time backing up the many scientific papers on the subject so far - but now we have another study that we can easily put in our briefcase and show to the unbelievers.
We have written about the positives of gaming before.
We're on the right track
Matthew Barr, one of the lecturers there, decided to conduct an experiment. Two groups of students, both sixteen people, were tested. The first group was the so-called control, while the second received three titles to play - Borderlands, Lara Croft, Guardian of Light, World of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Minecraft. The study itself was supposed to take eight weeks, and people subjected to it had to spend a certain amount of time playing specific games. The results? Great!
Modern video games require the player to be inventive and adaptable. They must find a dozen ways to tackle a given task. The way in which they are designed requires the player to think critically and to reflect. These are qualities highly desirable in graduates.
With these words Barr commented on the entire study. As it quickly turned out, the participants of the project from group two made huge progress. They were able to interact more easily, deal with problematic situations better, and significantly improve their adaptive skills. A number of pre- and post-tests were conducted which showed their progress.
My finding is probably not something that parents [of players] want to hear.
The lecturer added. He admitted that this means that video games can make a really big difference to higher education. Dear students: if someone tells you that you should "lose the computer" and start studying for the session, you can show them this study!
Let us play
Playing computer games has been found to develop many useful skills in children. Young players, for example, cope much better with following specific instructions. Definitely, their graphomotorics, lateralization and psychomotor abilities are improved. Although it may seem controversial, the best effects in this aspect are brought by playing shooting games, because they require from us a certain reflex. In addition, they are found to have a better ability to plan, set specific goals, and manage. This applies primarily to economic and simulation titles, where we have a given amount of material, which we can use for the right things.
Cognitive scientist Daphne Bavalier also argued that gamers are more multitasking due to the scheduling of action in computer games. They need to be more flexible, able to change their decisions to accommodate dynamic plot developments. Stephen Johnson, who called the development of strategic skills "telescoping", believed similarly.
It is impossible not to mention the development of logical thinking skills. Games also have a great influence on our concentration, allowing us to focus one hundred percent on the task at hand. We also learn to create maps of the area we are visiting, remembering specific points and locations. This in turn helps us exercise our memory.
Through computer games, children also learn to know the technical aspects of the computer or other platform they are playing on. Of course, parents are advised to monitor what their child tends to play. If it's possible, it's a good idea to sit down with your child and spend time together on some more interesting titles.
Panic fades, optimism grows
As usual, however, such a study may be lost in the darkness of history, as it is not particularly sensational. Not for parents and media, anyway, who probably still think that it is just an attempt to create a smokescreen. Fortunately, also in Polish schools are slowly being introduced to computer classes various titles, simple games, through which children discover new opportunities and learn something new. Those who remember coloring fonts in Word, or drawing houses in Painta, will certainly appreciate this fact.
On the other hand, there are also such interviews as those with Ms. Danuta Leszko-Rowsell, who confirms the positive aspects of playing computer games. She points out that various titles indeed have a positive impact on young people, but draws attention to the fact that everything should be done in moderation. She believes that it is necessary to emphasize creativity and encourage children to create their own computer games. Taking into account the fact that the Ministry of National Education has conducted the first pilot under the banner of "Programming at school", one can be of the opinion that we are on the right track.
So we keep our fingers crossed for further studies.