Reading & video games are both advantageous to a child learning experience.
How can we manufacture reading & writing games that offers immediate reward like the video games do.
Children are stimulated to play video games mainly because of the reward they receive for every task achieved through playing the game. As described by some, it is the desire to see what happens next in the preceding stage that gives the kick which makes the child wants to play the game.
Although some games promote aggression and violent responses to conflict, not all games simulate those types of behaviors. SimCity promote knowledge that can be useful to a child as that child grows up to understand the world he or she lives in.
Reading on the other hand, is a mind exercising function. Most children do not develop a kick for reading until they are a little older. I must also add that parents can help the child develop this function by playing an active role through participating in the reading exercise with the child. However, the reward obtains from reading books are far less acknowledged from a child perspective than an adult.
The advantages that a child gets from reading books are directly related to future benefits that are available in today's society. The information obtained from reading good books is important to a child education, long – term career benefits and future goals.
Games are relevant to real life situations in the sense that they reward a child when they've done well and punish them when they have failed to achieved a task. As we often noted in real life situations, when someone does good he is rewarded, and punished when done wrong.
The same logic is often applied to game playing, except in some games the past is so close to the future that it often reminds the child of the previous mistakes. Perhaps, the reason why a child learn faster when playing video game relates to his or her interpretation of past experiences.
As it is known by some, before anyone can learn anything, perception must take place. The child must become aware of what is being taught through one of the senses. Meaning, the child has to hear, feel or see what is being taught before he or she can interpret the lesson through those senses.
In the case of video games, in some situation, all three of those senses are applied in the learning experience. And it's because of that we say video games can help a child learn faster than books.
Reading on the other hand, only occupied one of the senses which we all know as seeing. One can read a material and yet has no understanding of what they have read. Reading requires children to apply their cognitive skills which are attention, memory & symbolic thinking.
As some parents have noticed, some have argued that cognitive skills are a necessity when it comes to play video games. Attention, memory & symbolic thinking are all required for a child to be a successful game player. As stated by Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) “we see things not as there are but as we are.”
Since a child focus mostly on playing games for the purpose of rewards, anything that does not involved immediate reward has no interest to that child. Now the question that comes to mind is how can we manufacture reading & writing games that offers immediate reward as the child plays the game?
The advantages that a child gets from reading books can be categorized in two groups. The information gathered from the books and the mental work that goes into processing and storing the information gathered. The mental benefits of reading incorporate the power of imagination, attention and concentration.
Reading encourages people to become active participant in their society, participate in entertainment, events that leads to progress. Unfortunately, the national endowment released a study in 2004 that showed reading for pleasure had declined among all groups of Americans. That was since 2004, we are now in 2009.
It must be reminded that Tex messaging (short hand) is not reading nor is it writing, let us not confuse that for reading & writing since we care less about writing full sentences when writing texting. Tex messaging contained too much short hand writing which carries no merit for literary content.
Studies have proved that violent games can promote aggression in some children. Likewise, studies have also showed that violent movies are also capable of stimulating aggression. However, they have been no studies that can prove that reading books influences violent behavior in children, even when considering horror novels.
The supporting argument state that children often lose their attention or gets distracted when reading books because the reading materials at most times do not captivate the child as the video games do, whereas the graphic details of the video games plus the violent actions portrayed by actors will always captured the child attention.
The graphical violence signals stimuli to the child subconscious mind that is not in common with previous graphical record obtain by the child mind. As the child adapt to those graphical violence the child becomes less sensible to violent behavior and therefore adapt to those graphical violence as the norm.
Meaning, when the child sees again that graphical violence, his mind produces an habitual response to these images. This is not to say that this will cause the child to adapt to real violence, because real violence has a different notation in the sense that it can be sudden and painful.
Although some video games promote violent behavior, they do have some benefits. It is true that playing video games do in fact improve one’s visual intelligence and hand coordination, but having the ability to read goes far beyond these advantages. I see video games as a means for someone to improve his or her cognitive skills.
A cognitive skill is a skill that must be taught. A skill needed for laying the foundation for immediate and future awards. Like learning the alphabet, numbers or a trade in college, certain video games can be categorized as such. For example, a pilot simulation game can help prepare someone who wants to pursue a career in aviation.
Likewise reading is also a cognitive skill, except that it demands more concentration than video games. Whereas, playing video games can be done by just paying attention, reading requires concentration for proper understanding. And also where video games help to prepare one in acquiring visual and mechanical skills, reading focuses more on literary and analytical skills.
Therefore, you cannot become a medical doctor by simply playing a medical gross Anatomy game. As an example: Logical thinking and long attention span which are not often required in video games would be an important skill to become a medical doctor.
One of the differences between playing a video game vs. reading is that the player of the video games often focuses his short attention span on the opponents, whereas reading takes every subject in account. It would also be useful if some video game manufactures can built applicable functions in the video games to take all subjects in consideration just as reading would require a reader to do.
In video games they are no subliminal messages, every message is forward, the gamer either respond to it or don't. However, that is not the case for reading, in reading, depending on the writer, there are sometimes subliminal messages hidden within the writing as a mean to cause the reader to think.
Now, we know that depending on the video game there's not that much thinking going on.
But more importantly, the problem we have with video games is that most games are programmed to function on an interactive platform design to project a false reality of life. When one stops playing, when facing the real world, one can find themselves unable to manage conflict logically. In this case the ability to think before one act goes onto the back burner. The person becomes so irrational that the ego is engulfed by all those illogical concepts assembled during the period of game playing but the game player doesn’t realize it until he or she faces a conflict that they could have avoided, and as a result, this is where art begins to imitate life.
However, although we truly think reading is important for future benefits, we must include that reading sometime cause one to be unoriginal when writing literary content. Those people sometime borrow too much from their favorite authors. Their writings have become a reflection of those authors and thereby carry alone with them their author’s ideas without ever attempting to challenge them first before acceptance.
However, reading is a good exercise for the mind, it prepares one for future opportunities & helps one to appreciate and respect other writer’s literary content. It seems like now days most people do their readings on line. They seem to be too occupied to pick up a book, but good writings and those who are famous will always attract readers. We are a country of gossipers, if one write today about whose celebrity boyfriend was caught with whose celebrity's girlfriend, it will make the bestselling book tomorrow.
We believe that both reading & writing are important to a child learning experiences. And if video games can be manufactured to cater to a child attention span while being less violence this game would a benefit to society at large.