USING EDUCATIONAL COMPUTER GAMES – AN OVERVIEW OF STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
University of Ruse (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This paper is part of research on “Computer games as tools for designing and implementing pedagogical innovations and increasing student’s motivation”. This article was prepared with the financial assistance of the European Social Fund: project BG051PO001-3.3.06: “Support the growth of scientific personnel in engineering and information technology”. The specific paper presents an overview of game platforms, player modes and highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of using computer games as an educational tool.
Constantly emerging new technologies challenge the area of education. Proper use of contemporary information technologies can enhance learning and teaching. In order to be helpful this technologies need to be incorporated in pedagogical methods, which encourage collaboration, communication and mobility.
Computer games are a new challenge to the educational community, providing the development of cognitive skills and making possible the socio cultural interactions . It is an instructional medium offering strong degrees of cognitive performances for experiential learning, team building, and easier understanding of abstract concepts.
The following definitions of games are provided by different researchers:
• Gredler determines educational games as unique opportunities for students to experience activities within a cognitive domain in which new knowledge can be introduced .
• Computer game is a game to be played using technological devices via human-computer interaction [15, 8];
• According to Zimmerman the game is a fictional interactive activity without obligations, with rules, a defined time and space and quantifiable outcomes. The game play is the free space of movement within a rigid structure ;
• Another term used by researchers is Serious Games. A serious game is a game designed not just for entertainment. “The serious adjective is generally prepended to refer to products used by industries like defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, religion, and politics” .
Computer games demonstrate effective pedagogical techniques that can be used in learning. Game environment enables new forms of knowledge previously unavailable within the traditional education. It is powerful instructional tool - from illustrating physics principles to practice surgery on a virtual patient.
Keywords: Computer games, strengths, weaknesses, game types, teaching, learning.