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The impact of digital games in education

by Begoña Gros
First Monday ()


In recent years, electronic games, home computers, and the Internet have assumed an important place in the lives and children and adolescents. New media are causing major changes in the nature of learning. There is a vast gap between the way people learn and the way in which new generations approach information and knowledge. Nonetheless, in the formal educational setting the new media are still under-represented. This paper is based on the idea that virtual learning is central in current society, and that the key aspect of this kind of learning is not so much technology itself but the interaction of the learner with the technology. Virtual learning environments offer many advantages: Flexibility, distribution, and adaptability. However, there is another domain with tremendous potential for reaching, motivating, and fully involving learners: The world of games. We believe that games constitute the most interactive multimedia resource in our culture today. Children gain access to the world of digital culture via digital games. Our main hypothesis is that children acquire digital literacy informally, through play, and that neither schools nor other educational institutions take sufficient account of this important aspect. We consider that multimedia design for training and education should combine the most powerful features of interactive multimedia design with the most effective principles of technologically-mediated learning. The paper concludes with recommendations for future study in order to better understand the growing impact of computers on our youth. (Abstract written by author)

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