Games and Learning

Why having fun in the classroom is more than just a nice thing

Everyone knows that it’s better to be in a fun class than in one that isn’t, but did you know that you’ll probably learn more too?

There are many reasons for this, but the basic gist is that the mind is hard-wired to retain information that utilizes more of its faculties. For example, you are more likely to remember an activity that engages sight, sound and movement than one that uses only one of those things alone.

Games make an ideal educational vehicle, as they help you to learn “effortlessly” by engaging the whole brain. In an experiment conducted with surgeons, they found that surgeons who played video games were 27% faster at performing advances surgeries and made 37% fewer mistakes. (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2008-08-18-video-games-learning_N.htm)

A basic tenet of games is that you cannot progress until you have achieved mastery of a certain concept or skill. The better the game, the more focused the individual, and the more they learn. When an individual is completely focused, they may achieve something called “flow state”, or an individual’s total immersion in an activity. The more time spent in this state, the more quickly you will learn.

So next time a teacher suggests you get up and move around the class, do it! It may be more helpful than an hour spent in the library.

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