How Do Video Games and Apps Lead to Learning?

How do video games and apps lead to learning? At the most basic level, play equals learning. When kids play, they learn. Play is helpful in teaching about problem solving, testing hypotheses, and developing social skills. Play also practices skills such as planning, prioritization, and self-management.

Play that involves technology, what we refer to as digital play, provides the same opportunities for learning as does traditional play. Digital play can be even more powerful because technologies can be customized to an individual’s need, provide immediate feedback, and adaptively increase the level of challenge to meet a child’s mastery level. The incredible engagement of many video games and apps enhances the attention and motivation of children for learning. We have only begun to understand how to use these powerful technologies to help children learn academic, social, emotional, and executive-functioning skills.

The following articles and videos can be shared with your patients or used by you to learn more about the science of play and how video games and apps can enhance learning.

Videos

Can Video Games Make you Smarter? (Really fun four-minute video that covers much of the research on games and learning.)

Gamification – How the Principles of Play Apply to Real Life (Daniel Floyd introduces Gamification, a concept that takes the principles of play and uses them to make activities in reality more engaging. However gamification can also have some risks, and this video talks about how we can find a balance and safely use gaming as a positive method of education.)

Articles

The Science of Play (How play leads to learning and how digital play needs to be considered a major learning opportunity in the 21st century.)

Cognitive Benefits of Video Games (Article by noted expert on play, Peter Gray, where he cites how game play improves visual, attention, executive- functioning, and job skills.)

Featured Image Credit: Games For Change

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We Need Your Advice: How Do You Deal With Transitions?

In my work as a child psychologist, one of the things I see worrying parents the most is the “addictive” nature of social media and video game play. While I view most technology usage to be cognitively challenging and useful for kids, many parents worry about their kids only wanting to do things that involve a screen. And when it comes to kids with ADHD, Autism, and Learning Disabilities, stopping video game play can cause intense distress and arguments, to the point where many parents no longer want them to play games, no matter what the potential benefit may be.

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