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Microsoft explores link between education and video games

Microsoft has become the first giant to focus on shooter games to explore whether video games can enhance education. Although many studies are in progress to explore the link between education and video games, they are focused mainly on educational games and not shooter games. The Gears of War publisher has put up $1.5 million to start The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), a co-operative effort with the New York University and other colleges. The goal of the research is to see whether video games can attract students into math, science and technology-based programs.

John Nordlinger, head of gaming research for Microsoft says

"We want to figure out what's compelling about the games. If we can find out how to make the games fun and not make them violent that would be ideal".

Microsoft's chief researcher Craig Mundie adds that games could stimulate educational abilities by helping people develop a higher-order cognitive capability.

University of Wisconsin researchers have found that playing World of Warcraft can encourage scientific thinking and noticed that players used mathematics and models to deal with situations in the game's fantasy world. Devin Krauter, a 17 year old ranked among the best players of Gears of War 2 by a video game Web site, says the game teaches him to think on his feet about succeeding and not slaying. One of the members of video gaming club in Fargo's South High School joined the club so as to meet other gamers and play puzzle-solving games to sharpen reaction time.

Vince Repesh, a Counselor at the University of Minnesota fears that gaming is replacing education, not adding to it. He recalled a couple of students coming to him for help after they got hooked on World of Warcraft and one of them was playing the game without a pause for nearly 28 hours!

Are there any possible long term psychological and sociological effects on frequent game players?

Is there really a good educational value in video games?

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