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Games as tools for change: 6 great videos and articles

by Kelly Teng on 03/03/14 11:53:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


In our office, we find some interesting things on the internet.

No, really.

Emails are always flying back and forth about the most interesting concepts that have been created in the gaming industry, or updates on the status of education and technology in the world. We truly believe that games can be powerful as tools for change and development, and we talk about it a lot. We share videos, photos, articles, products, and games.

Come to think of it, it’s amazing we still manage to get all our work done.

Of course, it would be a shame for this information to be contained within the virtual walls of our office inbox, so we’ve picked out our top six to share with you.

Can video games make you smarter? – ASAP Science

Without stepping on the toes of the video too much, the answer is yes. Video games assist us in developing problem-solving skills, as well as in improving our memory and our attention to detail. They also can help improve eyesight and fine motor skills, and one study even showed that video games can help kids with dyslexia. As if we needed any more reason to game…

7 ways games reward the brain – Tom Chatfield

.Tom Chatfield - 7 ways games reward the brain

If you’ve ever wondered why we all love playing video games, you’ll find the answer in this article. A few years ago, Tom Chatfield presented a TED talk on how video games reward our brain, and he shares the core parts of his talk on his website. Essentially, there are seven reasons video games are so engaging to humans and a few of these include their experience system, long and short-term goals, and the way games reward effort. He goes on to add that these seven tools can be used outside of video games to motivate people, which takes us to the next video…

The game layer on top of the world – Seth Priebatsch

Almost four years ago, Seth Priebatsch delivered a TED talk that talked about the concept of a game layer on top of the world. This layer, he said, incorporates game dynamics into day-to-day life and would reshape the way education and commerce is delivered and consumed. A couple of years later, gamification exploded in HR, education, and marketing. Coincidence? Hmm…

Good Video Games and Good Learning – James Paul Gee

In Good Video Games and Good Learning, researcher James Paul Gee talks about learning principles and how these are incorporated in video games. From risk management to agency and lateral thinking, Gee gives researched examples and ideas in this paper. Unlike some essays, Good Video Games and Good Learning is easy to read and informative and more importantly: Gee just gets it. GG, James G.

Gaming can make a better world – Jane McGonigal

Okay, so we clearly like TED talks (who doesn’t?!) and this one’s another classic. Jane McGonigal is a big advocate for gaming and proclaims that reality is broken, and we need to make it work more like a real-life game. In this talk, she looks at how games like WoW can give players tools to solve problems in the actual world.

Thought-provoking and controversial to some, McGonigal’s TED talk provides ideas on how games can effect true social change. Read the comments as well for more insights and debate around the topic.

Do educational video games actually work? – Infographic

Lastly, we have an interesting infographic which asks the question many people wonder: do educational video games actually work? This infographic highlights both benefits and concerns around the field of game-based learning, and includes some great statistics as well.

For the record, we know educational games do work if they are made well!

Do educational games really work? Infographic

Have we missed any? Leave a comment and let us know.

This post originally appeared on the 2and2 blog.

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