I met her when we were 18 years old. Freshman computer science students full of dreams, questions and of course energy. But she was different.; when we were all working hard on our course projects and lacking sleep, shes was playing video games. When we were all studying hard and getting prepared for the final exams, she was playing video games. When we were celebrating the end of semester, guess what, she was still playing video games! Kamelia has been a close friend of mine for more than a decade. We spent undergraduate and Masters programs together. I remember from the first day of our friendship, she clarified for all the classmates that ”I chose computer science because I want to become a game developer!”. This motivation might be common for many students in the U.S., but at my home country, IRAN, gaming is more like a hobby than an inspiration for choosing a major. Kamelia, though, was brave and persistent. She worked as a game developer in a company for couple of years after graduation in computer science with a minor in psychology. Later, she started her PhD at the University of Luxembourg working on “Computer Games to Treat Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”.
Following are what I learned from Kamelia completed with the crux of resources on this topic:
- Video games != waste of time. From educational point of view, you can potentially learn what you struggle to listen during a class or among the impractical homework assignments, in an entertaining game experience.
- Video games == problem solving. All video games are sets of problems which the player should solve. Does not this sound like another form of learning?
- Video games contain “Embedded Assessment”. A good game, in general, is designed so that its players cannot go to the next level unless they qualify. This certainly removes the conventional test-and-grade system and replaces it with more encouraging play-and-win system.
- Gaming based therapy programs help cognitive scientists to address learning issues and ultimately improve mental health. This is particularly beneficial when it comes to children who are less willing to spend time in hospitals and clinics. You may find the related following TEDx talk interesting.