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How many of you play video games? Wow, over half of you. Video games are not just for kids, right? People of all ages enjoy playing video games. They use them as a way to relax, unwind, and have fun. But current research in the fields of social psychology and education show that the benefits of video games go far beyond just having fun. there are real social and cognitive benefits that come from engaging in reasonable amount of video game play. Today we're going to focus on these benefits and then discuss how we can incorporate
video games into use with our students. Now, the traditional belief is that gaming is an addictive source of entertainment. Plenty of research has uncovered correlations between violent video games and aggression, but nothing has been proven. But recent research has proven that gaming has numerous benefits, and the development of cognitive skills in both children and adults is one of them. Just as exercise makes your body strong, cognitive games help to stimulate the brain, thus improving its performance. Sounds good, right? I mean, I want a stronger brain, don't you? So let's take a closer look at these cognitive benefits. First, playing video games has been found to  improve coordination. How does this happen? Well, when you're playing a video game, you are engaging many of your senses. For example, you are looking at the screen and listening to the commands. You are thinking about how to solve a problem and at the same time, you are pushing buttons on a keyboard or a controller. Second, gamers can improve their problem solving skills. Players need to make quick decisions in order to advance to the next screen or the next level. They must be able to analyze the problem and solve it in the most efficient way. According to  a study by the University of Rochester, action games train a player to make faster decisions without losing accuracy. This is a skill that would benefit someone in real life as well. Number three: video games can enhance memory. Players must remember directions that are often only given in the beginning of the game. They need to remember codes, keystrokes, and/or strategies that help them succeed in the game. This helps improve memory, whether short term or long term. Number four: video games have proven to be able to catch the player's attention and maintain that attention for a long period of time. Even children who are typically more easily distracted show that they can focus on the game and concentrate for the duration of that game. And just to add to that, my son who is very
excitable and has difficulty concentrating at school will sit quietly and play video games, even when they are educational games. And that point leads me to number five, which is that video games have shown to be a great educational tool. Both adults and kids enjoy learning when it's delivered in the form of a game. More and more educators are catching on to this and developing video games to teach content. As future teachers, this is something for you to strongly consider when you think about how you want to teach your students. The last benefit that I'd like to mention today is the social benefit. Surveys of gamers show that they find a sense of community when engaging in online video games. One survey found that 70% of people in the U.S. who play video games do not play alone, but rather do so with a friend either in a cooperative manner or a competitive one. So gamers aren't just sitting alone in a room, isolated, as the current myth implies. Okay, so let's move into the second part of the talk today: How can we incorporate video game use into our classrooms so that we can share these cognitive benefits with our students? I'd like you to get into groups and brainstorm some ideas about this.

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