Child development experts have long since expressed concerns about the negative side effects of excessive computer screen time among young students. These admittedly valid concerns are more relevant now than ever before, but many of the negative perceptions of the value of digital learning games have begun to change.
In recent years, digital educational game use in K-12 classrooms has risen dramatically, despite many parents’ concerns that they were lacking in academic rigor. Our California credentialed reading and writing tutors agree with many experts in assuming that this increase of game use in classrooms may be linked to a higher availability of quality, online educational content and a widespread growth in the integration of computing devices in K-12 schools across the country.
According to a recent study from Project Tomorrow, a California nonprofit organization, the number of teachers in the United States using games in their classrooms has doubled in the last six years. In 2010 only 23 percent of K-12 teachers utilized games as educational tools, but in 2015 the survey found that almost two-thirds of K-5 teachers and 48 percent of K-12 teachers reported using game-based learning activities in their classrooms. The survey also found that the use of online instructional videos in classrooms rose from 47 percent of classrooms in 2012 to 68 percent in 2015.
Project Tomorrow’s CEO Julie Evans stated, “The explosion in teacher interest and usage of videos and game-based learning could be a harbinger of a new awakening for digital learning.”
The Speak Up 2015 survey’s findings certainly suggest that the landscape for digital learning could finally be shifting. The report utilized an online questionnaire completed by over 500,000 students, teachers, educators and parents. Speak Up has been asking teachers, students, and parents to design their “ultimate school” for several years, and 2015’s study showed that nearly half of both teachers and parents included online or digital education games in their ultimate school scenarios.
Despite the popularity of utilizing digital educational tools, school administrators have said that motivating teachers to change their traditional practices to accommodate digital learning has been a challenge. Professional development may be a major factor in driving this trend forward, as teachers will need guidance on appropriate content and exactly how to incorporate online games, apps, and other digital learning strategies. Additionally, a major concern for many of the surveyed educators is ensuring that they are using high-quality, interesting games, rather than multiple choice questions or flashcards that just happen to be on a computer screen instead of the teacher’s hands.
Our private summer tutors know firsthand how much “brain drain” over the summer months can negatively affect student achievement for the following school year. There is no denying that kids use interactive visual content on a regular basis, and so the concept of utilizing internet-based educational resources is an exciting prospect in the battle to reduce the summer achievement gap. With mobile devices and internet connectivity learning can happen anywhere and anytime, so we believe that it’s worthwhile for parents and educators to find the value in online educational opportunities.
Our private tutoring service is dedicated to supporting your student in continuing to achieve their educational goals, even while school is out! To avoid the summer slide in academic achievement and get a jump start on fall, contact us today!