It may seem odd that I, an IT instructor, would
argue against students’ use of video games. Many
of my peers in the ed tech community believe that
video games promote improvements in following
instructions, problem solving, logical thinking,
hand-eye coordination, ;ne-motor skills, and spatial thinking. But during the last decade, I have witnessed several changes in students that I think may
be cause for concern, and I have heard the same
worries from parents.
Educational technology and video games are o;en
grouped together, but they have distinct di;erences.
;e evidence supporting technology’s positive in;uence on
learning continues to grow.
But the argument for including video games in that category starts to lose momentum
when you realize that students
are seldom willing to research
topics on a computer simply
because they want to learn
something new. Whenever my
Do you know what is really compelling about a
great video game? It’s not the great graphics or the
amazing sound e;ects or even the ability to do
things you can’t do in real life. ;e really compel-
ling feature of video games is their ability to give
you a task to complete that is hard enough that you
feel challenged but easy enough that you know you
can do it. In addition, as you work toward that chal-
lenge, you get constant feedback about how you are
doing. And I don’t mean the computer is shouting
back at you “Alllriiight!!!” or “Way to go, dude!” but
rather that at any moment, you can see your score,
your time, your distance, and how you compare to
others in the game.
What’s more, the challenge
you are completing is epic. It
is part of a larger story, o;en
the ubiquitous hero’s journey.
In this journey, the choices
are yours to make. Your decisions will make a di;erence
and contribute to events
more important than your