BARCELONA – Videogames are a means of communication and have an important educational role, argued three professors belonging to the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in a study analyzing 18 European videogame applications in education.
The study, entitled “A report on media literacy in the digital game. Experts in Europe,” reveals, among other things, “low media literacy in the context of videogames.”
According to the report’s authors, Jordi Sanchez-Navarro, Daniel Aranda and Silvia Martinez, “video games are located in a controversial field and marginalized in terms of national and European education policies.”
Therefore, “it is a good time to think of games as more than entertainment.”
According to Sanchez-Navarro, a game should be assessed as “a means of communication that generates meanings and pleasures and calls on its own analytical and creative skills.”
Aranda said that “most of the educational proposals related to the digital game focus exclusively on the use of digital games as educational support; as a teaching aid for educational content.”
The authors highlighted the “urgent need to introduce digital gaming to policies concerning media literacy,” and proposed to enhance the “analytical, reflective and creative capabilities of the digital game environment.”
According to Sanchez-Navarro, video games foster the players’ “strategic thinking: how to choose among alternatives and determine which are more interesting” and “improve the resolution of problems through reflection and negotiation.”
They also “increase the attention span, promote the use of memory involved in information gathering, and improve planning and the ability to manage (the game’s) own resources.”
Experts argue that digital games “increase players’ adaptation skills, mainly due to changing context and by helping prioritize improvements and future objectives.”
Daniel Aranda argued that a digital game “is basically a machine learning, in which the player must overcome a challenge imposed by the rules of the game.”
The report highlights that the digital game industry is constantly growing, as videogame sales in Spain alone are expected to reach 723 million euros ($ 820.42 million) by 2017.