Games For Critical Thinking

There’s another reason why games can be so good at teaching certain soft skills, such as resilience, problem solving and collaboration: They put us in a state of play.

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Think about it: You don’t turn on Tetris or Tomb Raider for the first time knowing how to play.

You have to learn while the game teaches you—and it all has to be engaging and immersive enough for you to want to keep playing.

They make us want to discover new things, they provide immediate feedback and they spell out goals in a clear way.

Often, they feed on our competitive side and when we do well, they provide some sort of reward—even if it’s just a smiley face at the end of a level.

Research hasn’t shown much evidence that games—in general—lead to increased learning outcomes.

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Even getting good at a game is no guarantee those skills will transfer to other tasks in our lives.Part of that success may be attributable to the way games are designed—e.g., minimizing failure and providing immediate feedback for students.Though it might also have to do with the conditions for learning espoused by Salen (who has since stepped away from Quest, but still sits on the Institute’s board).If it does have to do with conditions, then how games are used for learning—and the context teachers place them in—might be just as important as the games themselves.But make no mistake: game design is very important for learning.When games succeed at teaching broader skills that go beyond content-level knowledge, they often do so because they marry the best parts of entertainment gameplay—or the feedback loops and successive challenges that keep us glued to Candy Crush—with established learning theories, such as constructivism (learning by doing and reflection) or flow (learning by being perfectly immersed and focused on an activity).In fact, all games use learning theory to some extent.Likewise, a multiplayer role-playing game poses challenges that require players to work together, setting the stage for collaborative problem solving.And kids who, say, design their own cities using simulation games may show stronger problem-solving abilities than peers learning about cities in more traditional ways.The NYU team found that in just one year, the average Quest student in grades eight to ten showed as much growth on the exam as college students did on a similar performance-based test across four years. Quest students learned skills like problem solving at a much faster rate than students in college.Additionally, Arum has said that the school is adept at building soft skills, such as design thinking, along with collaboration and critical thinking.

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Comments Games For Critical Thinking

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    Just select a grade/age to start playing! The Critical Thinking Co.™ publishes PreK-12+ books and software that improve thinking skills and teach reading, writing, math, science and social studies.…

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