Clemson professor finds video gaming benefits - FOX Carolina 21

Clemson professor finds video gaming benefits

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CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Farmville are all video games that often consume kids and even adults.

An English professor at Clemson University has been researching video games and found that there are big-time social and critical-thinking skills learned from playing video games.

He not only assigns his students homework to play, but they've discovered a whole slew of reasons why it's good to play.

In today's times, video games are a form of media, up there with television, movies and books.

To associate English professor Jan Holmevik, they're just another way to tell a story and communicate.

When playing a video game, versus watching a television show or a movie, Holmevik describes the gamer as "in control of the protagonist." He explained that choices made have consequences that the player must then handle.

He finds the problem-solving skills gained through this method of jumping into the action noteworthy.

"If you fail, i.e. If you die in the game, then you start over, you get right back at it. You continue to explore and probe and find solutions," said Holmevik.

He said that's the type of skills training that education today often misses.

"We need to start thinking about learning as a way of inventing knowledge rather that reproducing knowledge that has been passed down," Holmevik explained.

Through his research, Holmevik found that video games encourage exploration and allow freedom to learn from failures and move on. He said he hopes that scientists who are used to hypothesizing will learn from gamers. Holmevik said he believes a different approach to problem solving could lead to faster progress in the world.

Holmevik's students read The Walking Dead, watch the show and play the game.

He's published three books on gaming-related theories trying to understand the phenomenon. He's found that video games contribute to learning and invention.

Holmevik does acknowledge there can be not so good aspects of gaming, like the threat of addiction. But he said it's not any worse than any other form of media.

Holmevik says it shouldn't come as surprise that video games have some violent themes, because it mirrors our society.

Western society, he said, often tends to solve problems with violence, but this is the same in television shows or movies, too.

Holmevik hasn't found any research that's found that playing violent video games contributes to violent behavior or criminal activity.

He does recommend that parents choose age-appropriate games for their kids.

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