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.
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.)
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.)