Solid evidence that gaming improves perception and motor skills – and that skills are transferable!

Some excellent studies have shown the value gaming has in motor skills, perception and decision making. Dye, Shawn Green and Bavelier have spent a number of years continuously experimenting and improving on their research surrounding whether people’s ability to make decisions or perceive things is affected by games. The overwhelming result is that gaming does have a significant impact on certain skills. Of particular interest is the conclusion drawn that, from these experiments, the assumption can be made that skills learned during gaming are transferable … a critical issue in education and learning fields.

One area that is confirmed to be improved is the ability to pay attention (attentional capacity) during an activity. Gamers have a longer attention span and can focus better on a task and improved results (accuracy).

Most interestingly, the study didn’t just conclude that gaming improves visual attention skills. As a second experiment, participants were divided into groups to play two different games. One group played an ‘action game’ called Medal of Honor. The other group played Tetris. Both groups achieved better results on the tests than groups which didn’t play video games as a ‘training’ tool. Most interestingly, the participants who played Medal of Honor did better than the participants who played Tetris.

The study was able to conclude that 10 days of action game training is sufficient to increase visual attention capacities. Further, action video game playing pushes the limits of different areas of visual attention. The researchers argue that the nature of games and the inherent visual multitasking provides significant visual skill training. (paywall article, sorry)


Creating is Learning: Building skills and knowledge through Minecraft

Creating is Learning: Building skills and knowledge through Minecraft.

Computer games are fun and gaming is an important aspect of digital culture. The best part about computer games is that when we play, we learn!

This video was made as part of my Masters in Education studies at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

Full references, citations and the supporting paper can be found here:

Contact me or learn more about my other videos, studies and academic writing.

Thanks to Notch and Mojang for making such an excellent game. Thanks also to the Minecraft community (particularly /r/minecraft) and the people who have developed original content that I used in my video.

Open Badges

Open Badges

If you want to ride the wave of what’s new and hip, then an emerging concept called open badges is worth checking out. Open badges have actually been around for a while but have recently garnered much attention – especially with Mozilla’s recent release of their open badges site for coding and web development.

The concept is simple, just like boy scouts receive a badge for proficiency of a skill, open badges are proficiency badges that are given by an organisation (such as Mozilla) or by peers. It’s a system where proficiency in skills can be legitimised by receiving peer recognition.

The idea is novel and has enormous potential to disrupt traditional educational institutes. Currently, the only legitimate education is through universities. However what would happen if open badges were legitimsed? What if companies started recognising open badges as ways of evaluating potential employees?

The impact of open badges is yet to be determined. However there’s a clear trend online (in social communities) where certain members are recognised as having skills. In online groups, some participants rise to the top and are acknowledged for their abilities – whether that’s organising the group, contributing, teaching others or whatever.

If we build skills by participating in social online communities, do they translate into workplace skills? Will future resumes be filled with badges instead of academic degrees?