by Hannah Punitha on  August 2, 2008 at 2:33 PM News on IT in Healthcare
 Schools Using Computer Games to Help Kids Learn 'Down Under'
Computer games have always been considered a waste of time, but now schools in Australia are looking at ways to use them to help kids learn.

Helen Stuckey from Australian Centre for the Moving Image said that the fun kids derive from playing a game could be applied to learning.

A study on what makes gaming so much of fun revealed a phenomenon called 'flow' - a feedback loop between the level of challenge and the level of skill.

"Flow happens not when you're relaxed but when you're actively involved in something that's quite difficult in a task that stretches you and challenges your ability," The Daily Telegraph quoted her, as saying.

"People get that kind of pleasure out of all kinds of things - a challenging job, surfing, puzzle solving - and it's actually the key to what makes a really good game.

"It's something educators really want to capture in the creation of learning tools, because it is about challenge and learning, and it's something that games do very well," she added.

Stuckey said that there were many games, which were teaching kids things without them even knowing it.

"Just playing a game doesn't mean that you're not learning, because in many cases you are. Games are being found more and more in the classroom with people using existing games as ways to explore ideas," she said.

"Most of those games are frequently sims (simulation) games because they are learning systems _, they have rules that correspond with real life and there is learning by doing.

"There are ways we can use our skill set learned from interactive entertainment both for education and self improvement," she added.

The upcoming Spore game, from the creator of The Sims and Sim City Will Wright, is another example of a game that can offer children valuable lessons.

"Spore is interesting because not only does it have those elements, it's a sandbox kind of God game where you have to create assets yourself. So you're experimenting - if I do this what happens, if I do that what happens," she said.

Source: ANI

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