Osaka YMCA
International School

video games and kids
William Miller

William Miller

Mr. Miller has been playing video games for almost 40 years! And as a teacher for 20 years, he believes that there is a place for them in education.

What, if any, are the applications for video games in educational settings when they are created with the sole purpose of entertainment and making ever-greater sales and turning an ever greater profit?

Are Video Games Educational?

I started playing video games in 1983 when I got my first Atari system, when it was just starting as an industry, fast forward to today and the video game industry is generating over 180 billion dollars annually (Wijman). Video games are a huge part of our day to day lives now, and thanks to advances in communications technology, they are everywhere and accessible for everyone. This is especially true for young people who are eager consumers of all things electronic. Students are playing video games on multiple platforms like the more traditional consoles such as PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, on their personal computers and have access anywhere any time on their mobile devices. It looks like video games are here to stay. The question is, are they educational? I would argue a resounding yes … but.
The use of entertainment media in education has been proven to have ‘stickability’ when properly researched and applied for the purposes of education, as can be seen with shows for young children in Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues (Gladwell). However, these shows are purposefully created to educate through engaging entertainment for children. So what, if any, are the applications for video games in educational settings when they are created with the sole purpose of entertainment and making ever-greater sales and turning an ever greater profit? Well, as it turns out the research done seems to indicate many applications, depending on the game and subject it’s being applied to.
Minecraft
Civilizations

One such example is the incredibly successful Microsoft game, Minecraft. Microsoft has developed an educational edition for this game in response to the positive applications it has for educational contexts. Nebel, Schneider and Rey (2016) found that Minecraft has been used to teach subjects as varied as literacy, sustainable planning, social skills and project management and that it “…has empowered players to break down perceived barriers between computers and the imagination” (Zaidan). I can personally attest to the use of Minecraft and how well it engaged my students. They had to recreate ancient monuments based on their research in the game and include interesting facts about their monuments for other students to visit and learn from. This was an engaging experience for the students and they really enjoyed the process of learning. As a social science teacher there are many opportunities for students to learn about individuals and societies, particularly in subjects such as history and geography. Most notably are games such as Sid Myer’s Civilizations and Assassin’s Creed with their in-depth immersion of history. Young people playing these games will learn about the past in an engaging and meaningful way, hopefully leading to more learning and interest beyond the games they are playing.

All of this said, video games are still created for the sake of entertainment and selling a product. So, while video games are excellent at developing a number of skills and improving general knowledge about certain things given the nature of certain games, there are many games that are simply entertainment for entertainment’s sake. Video games can definitely be used for educational purposes, but there are many and more that are not. As a teacher and a parent, it is a good idea to know which is which. If you want to learn about a few games that are, here is a link to Video Game Rant where you can find some educational games for your children.

Works Cited

Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point by Gladwell, Malcolm. (Back Bay Books, 2002) [Paperback]. Back Bay, 2022.

Wijman, Tom. “The Games Market and Beyond in 2021: The Year in Numbers.” Newzoo, 13 Jan. 2022, newzoo.com/insights/articles/the-games-market-in-2021-the-year-in-numbers-esports-cloud-gaming/#:%7E:text=The%20games%20market%20in%202021,%2B1.4%25%20over%20last%202020.

Zaidan, Sarah. “Video Games as Education.” The International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy 1–6. Web.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

School Blog

What Makes an IB School Different?

One of the most popular questions I am asked by parents is ‘what makes an IB school different from other schools?
Firstly, IB schools specifically aim to make students more internationally-minded. That may sound like a cliche, so let’s explore what it really means.

Read More »
Announcement

WASC Praises Osaka School

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) recently completed an evaluation of Osaka YMCA International School (OYIS). It found that measures were in place to support inclusive education and ensure that each child meets his or her potential. OYIS has been praised for being ‘caring’ and committed to achieving high standards.

OYIS is an IB continuum school, which means it offers an IB curriculum throughout the whole school, from the Primary Years Programme (PYP) through to the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12.nWASC recognised that growth in PYP was above average while the MYP Maths’ scores were particularly impressive.

Despite the challenges all schools have faced during the pandemic, WASC found that the school had been seen as being ‘caring’ and ‘flexible’ during these times.

OYIS, which has campuses in Nakatsu and Tosabori, aims to be inclusive and support each child’s needs. WASC also recognized this, saying it was a significant area of growth. With the school’s first-ever IB Diploma students preparing to graduate this year, WASC felt the college guidance program was developing well.

PYP Principal Dwayne Primeau said: “We work very hard to ensure that we build a school culture that is inclusive, caring and welcoming. The school has expanded rapidly over the past few years due to the support of the Osaka YMCA, Osaka city, our amazing staff, students and parents. It is reassuring to hear that WASC feels we are continuing to move in the right direction to provide a truly international education to our students.”

MYP/DP Principal Mark Beales added: “It was pleasing to hear that WASC recognized the significant amount of work teachers have put in over the past few years. As well as meeting the challenges of covid, the school has expanded to include the MYP and IB Diploma. We are delighted that WASC praised our caring and empathetic approach to helping students; we will continue to promote these qualities.”

Read More »
Announcement

Osaka Students can sit SATs

Students in Osaka City are now able to take internationally-recognized tests as they prepare for university.
Osaka YMCA International School (OYIS) has just been given permission to host Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT).

Read More »
OYIS Marc
School Blog

The Choices We Make: Building School Community

It was my goal that OYIS would be a safe space for young people and would aim to provide a community where they felt safe, supported, and engaged. I wanted to build a space where I would have felt connected to and supported.

Read More »

2021年度OYIS自己評価表

学財務諸表2020

役員等名簿

役員の報酬等の支給に関する規程

寄附行為

Add Your Heading Text Here