The Cultural Effects of Video Gaming

Xbox. PlayStation. Wii. When you think of video games, it’s likely that some of these names will pop into your head. It’s also likely you’ll conjure up images of Super Mario stomping on bad guys, or of enemy warriors battling on an alien planet, or of your own James Bond-esque spy mission in a 3D virtual world.

But these days, video games aren’t just for tech geeks. Nor are they purely for entertainment value. In fact, games have been put to use in a new way altogether: as a platform for educational, business and therapeutic purposes.

“The gaming industry itself is maturing — both in its development style and its target product,” said D.J. Kehoe, assistant to the director of the information technology program in the College of Computing Sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

In fact, some games are actually intended to be educational. For instance, last spring Kehoe directed a group of students as they developed a game for Pearson Education. The purpose of the project was to create a gaming environment that would bolster the reading skills of middle- and high-school students. 

Further, a congressionally funded training program called the “University XXI program” has built 21st-century gaming simulations to train U.S. soldiers and Air Force recruits.

“We have built up capacity to help analyze and update training materials for the Army, and recently we’ve been looking at training materials and education materials for the Air Force,” said Sheilagh O’Hare, systems analyst at the…


Deanna Hartley

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