This is a guest blog entry from Karin Gerber.

It’s a whole new world out there now than it was decades ago.  Decades ago, who would’ve thought that playing video games would actually increase brain activity and not burn brain cells, as many would assume.  Instead, current video games require more interaction and strategy than ever before.  Playing modern day video games is not the same as sitting in front of the television mindlessly watching shows.  There’s extensive problem solving in today’s video games and that can easily prepare our young ones for interacting in the current dog-eat-dog world that’s out there.

Author James Paul Gee wrote a book about this very topic, What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning And Literacy.

After exploring many of the most popular video games, Gee argues that they are not the mindless entertainment one thinks.  He suggests that they are actually quite intricate learning experiences that have a great deal to teach us about how learning and literacy are changing in the modern world.  (via James Paul Gee)

How can video games teach us how to interact in everyday life?  According to Gee, there are important learning principles that are incorporated into good video games, such as how one forms an identity, the connection of words and symbols, choosing different ways of solving a problem, learning from non-verbal cues, etc.

Playing video games also gives you hands-on experience because you are actively involved with what’s going on.  Your decision plays a role in whether you advance in the game or not kind of like how it is in life.

Even businesses and colleges are engaging in the “gaming” world.

Businesses and universities are increasingly turning to interactive simulations and virtual worlds as training tools to educate employees… From Cisco to NASA, the U.S. Army to IBM, numerous corporations, government organizations and colleges have all employed interactive learning solutions.  (via

The school textbook might even become a non-essential thing of the past with the gaming platform used in its place.  Also, medical students practicing their medical science on a virtual screen is much safer than on a real person.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Taekman, the director of Duke University’s Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center, “serious games and virtual environments are the future of education.” (via

So what does this mean?  Although surgeons do perform delicate operations with the use of joysticks, robotic arms, and fiber optical cameras it just goes to show how times are still changing.  The gaming environment isn’t the same as it used to be and it definitely isn’t what we think it is.

To see additional information on video games, see Windows Observer article Gaming Devices: More Than Just Gaming.