The strategies that video games use can prove handy in educating children at schools, claims an expert.
James Gee, the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Chair in Literacy Studies in the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education at Arizona State University, insists parents should stop looking at videogames as being an impediment to children keeping up with their schoolwork.
Gee said: "Commercial video games, the ones that make a lot of money, are nothing but problem-solving spaces,"
Gee believes that video games optimise learning in several ways.
First, games provide information when it is needed, rather than all at once in the beginning.
He said: "We tend to teach science, for example, by telling you a lot of stuff and then letting you do science. Games teach the other way. They have you do stuff, and then as you need to know information, they tell it to you."
Games also provide an environment that Gee calls "pleasantly frustrating." They are challenging but doable.
He added: "That's a very motivating state for human beings. Sometimes it's called the 'flow' state."
Many game developers also invite players to modify their products through "modding."
The developers share the software and encourage players to create new levels or scenarios.
Gee concluded: "Think about it. If I have to make the game, or a part of the game, I come to a deep understanding of the game as a rule system. If I had to mod science-that is, I had to make some of my own curriculum or my own experiments-then I'd have an understanding at a deep level of what the rules are."
Gee made his presentation in a symposium, 'First-Person Solvers? Learning Mathematics in a Video Game,' at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.