Arcademics – Pushing Play
Don’t kids spend enough time playing video games? Many researchers argue that’s exactly why educators should make greater use of video games in the classroom! Children are playing video games – whether the Sony PlayStation or the Nintendo Wii – more than any other leisure activity. Just as television and movies in the 20th century created children who were content to sit and watch a screen, video games are creating a generation of kids who want to actively participate and create their own entertainment.
Video games are challenging in a way that students appreciate. Students are not usually excited about doing drill and practice activities – a problem to which all teachers, parents, and homeschoolers can relate. Video games can be used as another avenue – games make the material more fun and engaging for today’s technology-driven students.
Online educational video games from Arcademic Skill Builders (www.arcademics.com) challenge students to respond quickly to problems over a series of short, timed trials. The goal is to make the students fluent in the skills being practiced – skills like multiplication, addition, subtraction, subject-verb agreement, and parts of speech. As students play more, their rate of response increases and error rate decreases until eventually they can solve the problems automatically.
A new multi-player game called Grand Prix Multiplication enables students to play each other on the same game. Each student has a race car on the track, the speed is controlled by the student’s rate of correct answers. The competitive aspect of multi-player gaming engages students in a fun way that encourages learning, especially when compared to flash cards. A recent pilot study by Arcademics showed that students’ rate (how quickly a student correctly answers the problem) improved 15% compared to students who studied with flash cards. Games can improve performance through increased time on task, increased motivation, and increased timely feedback.
As Arcademics moves forward in the development of games and virtual environments for education, the hope is that homeschoolers will incorporate video games into their curriculum as more than just time filler activities or rewards for completing class work early. Video games have the potential to challenge students in a way they understand and respond to. Games can engage students, stimulate higher-order thinking skills, and can expose students to situations that could not easily be replicated in the classroom.
And most of all, video games are fun, like learning should be.
– David Scherrer, President, Arcademics.com
Arcademic Skill Builders are free and can be played by visiting www.arcademics.com. Arcademics recently launched Arcademics Plus, which provides reporting and customized games for subscription.