Video Games, Learning and Physical Health

Russell A. Sabella writes about video games and the benefits that come from learning through these interactive tools. Sabella writes, “Games are widely used as educational tools, not just for pilots, soldiers and surgeons, but also in schools and businesses… Games require players to construct hypotheses, solve problems, develop strategies, learn the rules of the in-game world through trial and error. Gamers must also be able to juggle several different tasks, evaluate risks and make quick decisions… PLaying games is, thus, an ideal form of preparation for the workplace of the 21st century, as some forward thinking forms are already starting to realize.” Sabella continues to explain that there is much evidence to support this statement. I believe that those that use video games in the work place will definitely be at an advantage in comparison to those that do not. The more practice that a person has in their specific profession allows for them to advance more than someone that simply practices during the times that are required.

If an individual practices their work because they want to and not because they have to, this will allow the individual to learn more than they would because they are putting in more hours of practice. The advantages to games is that the player will remember more because they are more engaged, more involved and more motivated to like what they are doing. The article lists many benefits of using video games that include but are not limited to; an introduction to computer technology, practicing following directions, provide practice in problem solving and logic, practice in fine motor and spacial skills, provide occasions for adults and children to play together, an introduction to information technology, many games provide therapeutic applications with patients, and finally games are entertaining.

One of the most recent findings discussed in the article addresses the benefits of video games in the life of surgeons. Studies have shown that surgeons that play video games make less mistakes than those who do not. Sabella writes, “researches found that doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37% fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27% faster than their counterparts who did not play video games.” I found this research and statistic extremely insightful and significant evidence to show that spending more time while engaged in video games can enhance one’s ability to perform their profession such as being a surgeon in a greater way.

The Shoot Em Up game has shown that those players that have continued to play this game have better visual skills than those that do not play video games. Video games have the ability to strengthen hand-eye coordination because they are motivating, have a purpose and a goal. Research has shown that with little game playing the visual skills can be improved for  just about anyone. Physical health has also been affected in a positive way through video games. Dance Dance Revolution has been a great way to gain exercise without realizing that one is doing so. Often people do not want to exercise because it is boring, not motivating and tiring. By using games to exercise, people do not realize that they are exercising because they are motivated and distracted while playing.

Dance Dance Revolution has been one way to fight child obesity which has attracted the attention of many schools. Dance Dance Revolution has become apart of the fitness program in 756 state schools in West Virginia. The Wii has also served as a solution to childhood obesity because of the exercise that is gained through playing all different sports and dances. Traineo.com is a website that has partnered with Nintendo to deliver similar results to the Wii. I personally have issues getting myself to work out because of how tiring and boring working out can be, however i do enjoy the Wii and other interactive exercise games. The dancing games offered by programs like the Wii are extremely entertaining and fun. It is hard to realize how much exercise you are getting until you are out of breathe by the end of it. I believe that the game design of the Wii is also very attractive which is another reason why exercise and playing a sport seems more fun than in real life.

Sabella also writes about the cognitive and mental knowledge gained from playing video games. Through experience, new generations are more comfortable with visual spatial skills, mental maps and seeing the computer as a tool. Previous generations have issues with these skills because they are not apart of the game generation. An example of what new generations are capable of is being able to picture fold a shape in their mind with out actually doing it. They are extremely used to the 3D world. www.Games2train.com shows how different games are beneficial to all different types of skills. This could definitely be extremely beneficial in the classroom setting because teachers could use these games to strengthen the skills and knowledge of their students. This would definitely help those students that have issues focusing in the classroom and need to be engaged with assistance of interaction or unique game design.

Examples of these games include Pain Distraction Free Dive. This game has been shown to distract children from chronic pain and those undergoing painful operations. COTS history games are extremely beneficial when attempting to learn various facts and information that are normally overwhelming. This game includes all different periods through out history and breaks down facts in an easy and understanding way. Nutrition Feed The Monster is a game that teaches children how to eat properly and in a nutritious way through feeding the monster. Children learn early on healthy eating habits which assist with healthy habits later on in life and promote healthy living. Video games can definitely be used in all different fields to strengthen the lives of students. Students benefit from video games mentally, physically and emotionally. Through the use of video games, many professions such as surgeons can advance their skills and help people in need through the engaging use of games.

The article can be found here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/video-games-learning-physical-health/?page=2

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