Banning Violent Video Games in Mexico

There is growing research on the effects of videogames on children, especially in regards to violence.  Many of the most popular games emphasize negative themes and promote killing, criminal behavior, disrespect for authority and the law, foul language, and obscenities.  Many studies of children who are exposed to violence have shown that they become immune to the gravity of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behavior.  In addition, studies have revealed that the more realistic and repeated exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children.

Spending large amounts of time playing violent games can create problems such as poor social skills, lower grades, less reading, exercising less and obesity, aggressive thoughts and behaviors, and less time with family, school work, and other hobbies.

In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, legislators have just asked federal authorities to ban the video game “Call of Juarez: The Cartel.”  This video game is based on drug cartel shootouts in Ciudad Juarez and has angered local officials who are busy fighting “all-too-real violence.”

Do you think banning violent games will help children’s growing aggressiveness?

Here is the full article about the game in Mexico:

Video Games and Stealth Assessment Technology

As many of us experienced during our childhoods, young kids are reluctant to do their schoolwork after school.  However, kids are more than happy to spend hours on end playing video games at night.  According to Valerie J. Shute, a Florida State University researcher, the solution to this issue is not to take games away from kids.  Rather it would be more effective to provide a more enjoyable learning experience by creating video games with educational content and assessment tools.  In addition, it would be positive to incorporate these games into the school curriculum.

The concept known as ‘stealth assessment’ tries to disguise educational content in a way that kids won’t even realize that they’re being assessed while playing the game.  Furthermore, stealth-assessment technologies have many advantages over conventional teaching methods.  Shute said, “Based on a student’s responses to various situations that come up during the course of playing a video game, the game itself can be programmed to assess where that student might be especially strong or weak in core competencies.”  She then suggested that educational games could adapt its content to the needs of the student, providing more or less information depending on one’s progress in the game.  This stealth-assessment technology will not only be able to measure a student’s current level of knowledge, but can determine areas for improvement, and guide the student towards improvement by providing feedback, and perhaps making easier problems.

I think that this idea of stealth assessment could provide great results for students.  I know that when I was a kid I would definitely have been more engaged within a video game context, rather than learning in the classroom or doing written homework after school.  I would be curious to hear about what other students think about this stealth assessment technology.  Do you think it can work?  Or, are these research findings not substantial?  I for one think that this is a positive for the education systems.

Does the Scientific Method Work?

Now that we’ve attended the lecture on research, allow me to inject the proper note of existential uncertainty and despair.

Here’s an article from the New Yorker about something called the Decline Effect. In the decline effect, dramatic results that are rigorously proven tend to shrink over time if the study is replicated. Is it researcher bias? Publisher bias? Or does the universe like to play jokes?

Real life video game learning… for boyfriends?

An app called My Virtual Girlfriend for iPhone, iPod, and iPad. It’s a The Sims-like game, with a twist. You make your own girlfriend… traits, looks, everything!

I came across this game and was pretty excited. Finally! A game that teaches guys the basics of relationships… maybe? I haven’t played the game or talked to anybody who has played it, but it sure is interesting.

I guess you can level up by being a good boyfriend. But if you’re a bad, terrible boyfriend, then she may break up with you! The site explains it in more depth. Any brave men willing to take on the challenge? I think I may get it… just to see how the women react in the game to different actions in comparison with myself.

My favorite feature of the game is this, “Test your man-skills! Earn Acheivements by completing various tasks and unravel the mystery known as woman.”

But an interesting thing to think about… will the game actually improve the quality of boyfriends? I have gone through a few “bad” boyfriends… but how close will this game get to the habits that they had? And how will the reactions from the “girlfriend” differ from my own?

Here is the site for the game:

DimensionU Educational Video Games

I found this article related to the discussion topic this week. It was mentioned that  because of DemensionU serious game play is becoming more regularly used in the classroom. Students are immersed into math and problem solving during the game play and it has become very successful. It was interesting that the article also mentioned that research has proven that serious educational game play has academic gains!