For years, it has been largely accepted that video games are simply a bit of fun, and, for the most part, have no real educational value.
However, according to Dr. Sandra Schamroth Abrams, assistant professor of adolescent education at St. John's Univeristy in New York, video games are far more educational than we might think.
"Games really serve as a springboard for interests in other areas. There's this one student that I've written about who is a big history buff," said Abrams in a phone interview. "He became very interested in history by playing the Battlefield games, and he then from there went on to listen to military-based podcasts, history-based podcasts, watched the Discovery channel, he took out all sorts of books and then he wrote his own fictitious story about what the world would be like after an apocalyptic type of situation. So he layered his literacy's because he was interested in this one particular topic and he became interested in it because he was playing these particular video games."
Before you rush out and buy Dragon Age: Inquisition, however, it's important to remember that Abrams doesn't suggest that simply gaming means someone is getting education. One of Abrams' main points was that everyone learns differently, and someone who is good at a sports game and might be getting a lot from those games might not be developing skills playing other games, like the latest Call Of Duty game. Not only is every person different in how they learn, but every game will provide a different experience for each person, too.
"Every game has its own specific skill set. There might be certain pieces that overlap and there might be certain components that are true in every game...but the design is such that each game or each genre requires players to do different things," said Abrams.
So will we start to see video games incorporated into the classroom? Perhaps, but that doesn't mean that the PlayStation 4 will make an appearance in math class. According to Abrams, games might start to replace work sheets that older students will remember doing, giving students an opportunity to work through problems and try them again if they get it wrong or need more practice.
"Really good video games are adaptive," Abrams said. "People can learn as they go, but they can have an opportunity to try again.... They learn by doing, but they also learn by making mistakes and it's OK to make mistakes.... There are really fantastic classes and fantastic teachers that allow students to learn by doing and redoing. But there needs to be more of that and students need to experiment and take risks and be willing to take risks."
Video gaming clearly has potential in education, but it will be a gradual process for it to be more integrated into the education system. Once it does start to be used, however, as long as it is used properly and tailored for students' particular learning methods, video gaming could be very beneficial.