There are many people who believe that games do not have a place in the classroom, particularly games on computers or other forms of technology. However, I think there is a huge benefit for these games.
Games are a form of play and there is a ton of research on play in the classroom and the research tells us that it is a good thing. Not only do the children enjoy it and behave better, but they are also often learning while they are playing. Some people know this and are advocates of play in the classroom. But what happens when we bring in the question of play through technology? Is it still considered play? Do the students still learn from it? Of course. In our current society as Canadians, and in much of the rest of the world as well, technology is taking over every aspect of our lives. This includes or leisure (or play) time. Every other child has a cell phone, iPod, or DS to play games on. Why do we try to exclude those things from the classroom? To win a power struggle between the students and the school? If these things are what students are interested in, why would we, as teachers, not use it to our advantage? If the student is learning what the curriculum is outlining, does it matter if they accomplish it by listening to a teacher at the front of the room or by exploring and discovering themselves on a screen? Of course, they can’t be just any games. In the classroom there has to be guidance from the teacher in the area of what computer games they are playing; and this is a huge issue. There has to be a LOT of careful selection by the teacher to provide games that are actually benefiting the student in the academic setting of the classroom.
Now, I’m not saying that students should be sat down at computers and stare at screens all day. I don’t believe that is good for a child. There is still a huge benefit from social contact that I think a lot of younger generations (including my own) are missing out on. However, is it going to hinder the students’ learning if they play an educational game via technology for 20 minutes? I think not.