BY AGNESS WALEWINDER
As mentioned in Part one, some web games have more of an impact on learning and brain development than others. However, not all web games come with taglines that let a player know if it’s educational or not. If someone cycles through what they believe to be educational web games, they will eventually come to learn the signs of a game that positively affects brain growth and learning skills.
Some of the learning abilities that the right web games can affect include:
- Enhance memory
Commonly, when a player begins a new game, there are new sets of instructions and how-to guides to remember throughout the game. As someone delves deeper into a game, there’s even more to stow away in a memory bank. Thus, web games, especially interactive RPGs, can help stimulate both short-term and long-term memories.
- Improve concentration and and attentiveness
Excellent web games are designed to capture and engage a player’s concentration and attention for long periods of time. This can help in classrooms too when students feel themselves becoming bored by the curriculum. Improved concentration and attentiveness are tantamount to discipline; hence, students are capable of focusing their attention for longer, regardless of their learning environments.
- Enhance the ability to multitask.
Time management web games often require players to be observant of multiple tasks at once. Yes, it can be a focal point for frustration at first, but as players learn more about the game, multitasking becomes easier. This is a valuable skill that can translate to real life in all aspects—not just school.
- Build problem-solving
Most web games require players to follow rules to survive and thrive in-game. Some games even have situations where a split-second decision could mean winning or losing the game. Focus has to be sharp, of course, but these split-second moments build problem-solving skills, as real-world dilemmas require the same amount of quickness and care.
- Improve organization and coordination
Hand-eye coordination is a big-time must-have for most web games, as is organization of the rules, instructions, missions, and objectives. Players have to organize and coordinate their moves to win, which often requires precision and strategy as well. Organization is good for classroom work, while coordination helps with homework, class projects, and juggling the curriculum from one class to another.
- Help brain function and neuron speed
Quick reflexes come from the brain telling someone’s body and mind to react quickly. Web games have moments of intensity, where players have to avoid obstacles, figure out puzzles, or focus their energies on saving characters and achieving missions. These require quick thinking that, over time, will expand brain function, making it easier for players to react in both game time and the real-world with enhanced neuron speeds.
Web Games Can Be More Than Learning Tools for Students
Movies and television shows portray college as one big party, where students play drinking games and skip classes without a care in the world. However, that’s why movies are fiction and real-world college is, well, reality. The average college student is exhausted, overworked, and strapped for time. Which is where web games could come in as more than convenient, fun learning tools.
Web games are meant to be enjoyed as much as they are meant to be educational. They can be excellent stress relievers, as students can lose themselves in the fun of problem-solving missions, puzzles, and connected objectives—all from the convenience of a dorm room, apartment, or anywhere, really, with a handheld gadget. Sure, players are still learning from these games, but sometimes it’s nice to relax and forget that you’re learning.
Are Web Games Bad for Brain Development?
According to psychologists, web games, like anything else, need to be enjoyed in moderation. Some web games are more educational and better for brain development than others. Violent web games often have a negative impact on the brain, as negative gameplay scenarios can cause stress that lessens any skills or learning abilities that would otherwise be helpful to students.
To get the most out of web game play, these same psychologists suggest limiting gameplay to an hour or two on a daily basis. Moderation is key to stimulating the brain just enough. Too much gameplay of anything can be overwhelming. These games should also fall in the educational or strategic categories, as these categories have the most to offer students seeking to improve their learning abilities.
Learning abilities grow when neurogenesis is stimulated. Neurogenesis is the growth of brand-new neurons in the brain, which is essential to growing new knowledge and making important connections between old information and new information in one’s mind.
Web games encourage cognitive processes. Cognition is the series of intellectual activities in the brain. It affects focus, intelligence, perception, memory, and reason. Ergo, a good web game will stimulate one, or all, of these cognitive activities, causing major brain developments that only enhance a student’s performance during various classes.
So, in short, no—web games aren’t inherently bad for brain development. The right web games played in moderation can actually help improve upon the cognitive processes of someone’s intellectual activity.
Agness Walewinder is a game geek by passion extremely interested in exploring connections between web games and their role in students’ learning abilities. She also works at Poki – a playground for kids of all games. This playful platform features plenty of games such as Fast Typer or Tunnel Rush that can help with improving concentration and attentiveness, build problem-solving skills and enhance players’ memory.