Video Games in School to Boost Happiness and Creativity

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Education Reformation

Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Here’s a transcript for the talk, if you’re more of the reading type: bit.ly/QEM5OM

Video games have become such a prevalent aspect in our lives that it simply can not be ignored. Every kid from the first grade girl playing barbie on the web, to the college student playing the latest Battlefield or FIFA on his platform of choice plays them. Even my dad has some fun with his iPhone, playing Angry Birds, Swordigo, or UnBlock Me. The point is that video games are everywhere, and they’re an embedded part of our culture now. So my question is, why aren’t they being utilized in school? There are some schools that in Physics class, they play a modified version of the game Portal, from the Valve Corporation. In the game, players use different game tools such as bouncing, sliding, absorbing, portals, and speed, to achieve certain objectives. The player is then rewarded with a trophy of sorts, as well as  continuing the story of the character. Some civil engineering classes use the game Minecraft, from Mojang, to design buildings and other structures. These are just two examples as to how games are used already, but there are so many other possibilities. Make a game about shooting orbs around other, differently sized orbs, and trying to hit an object. This is exactly how gravity works in an astronomical proportion, to be used in Astronomy, or again in Physics.

There are so many different ways to make games a part of school. And there’s a lot of reasons WHY it’s worthwhile to do so. The human body, mentally and physically, loves games. It loves the sense of achievement, and it ends up making us happy. Happiness is a big deal to us. “Hospice workers, the people who take care of us at the end of our lives, recently issued a report on the most frequently expressed regrets that people say when they are literally on their deathbeds. And that’s what I want to share with you today – the top five regrets of the dying. Number one: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Number two: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Number three: I wish I had let myself be happier. Number four: I wish I’d had the courage to express my true self. And number five: I wish I’d lived a life true to my dreams, instead of what others expected of me.”

She goes on to say that playing games, and in today’s terms, video games, be it mobile, on a computer, Playstation or Xbox, games allow us to not have any of these regrets. In playing games, we don’t work as much. We spend time with our kids, with our spouses, with ourselves. We stay in touch with friends, competing for high scores, working together to achieve an objective (Portal is two player!). We allow ourselves to take off our stress “playing” sports, blowing things up, things like that. We get to express our true selves, through talking, through avatars, through play styles and strategies. Living true to our dreams has never been easier, merely spending some free time doing what we want, being who we want with the people we want to be with. It lets us take control of something. Video games have just solved all 5 of people’s regrets. And now we won’t have any.

For today’s students, we’ll still have a lot of these regrets because of how hard school pushes us, and the way that they push us. It’s unhealthy. But I know that putting video games into a curriculum would not only be fun for kids, but it would also make them happier in the long run. It would make school easy for everyone.

Works Cited

“Video Games Play May Provide Learning, Health, Social Benefits, Review Finds.” http://www.apa.org. Web. 13 May 2014. <http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/11/video-games.aspx>.

“The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life.” Jane McGonigal:. Web. 14 May 2014. <https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life>.

 

 

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