Today’s children and young adults have grown up with video games, and according to Psychology Today, approximately 99 percent of American boys and 94 percent of American girls play them regularly. Video games have become a nearly ubiquitous aspect of home entertainment, but they can also be used as a tool for education. Here are some ways your classroom can benefit from the PlayStation 4 console:
Games That Teach
One game that can be used in the classroom to teach is “Little Big Planet 2.” Just turning on this game reveals its potential—the game offers a rich creative environment that allows students to explore design thinking, social interaction and systems thinking. According to Edutopia, “Little Big Planet 2” was recently used in a media arts class at a charter school in Chicago, where students were asked to use the game’s easy-to-learn engine to recreate a classic fable or myth. Though “Little Big Planet 2” wasn’t specifically designed for educational purposes, it can easily be implemented in the classroom by a savvy educator.
For home-schooled children and schools with limited access to physical education programs, a PlayStation 4 can create an enjoyable and affordable alternative when combined with a few PlayStation Move controllers. There are many “exergames” available for the PlayStation 4 that use the PlayStation Move as a controller. The upside of active games is measurable, too. A study by the University of Massachusetts Boston with 39 middle-school children found that the use of exergames was comparable in fitness results with walking on a treadmill for three hours, and some games were even more effective. Games like “Just Dance” allow multiple players to play and move together, thus allowing multiple students to share in the experience at once.
The PlayStation 4 is more than an engaging and educational toy—it is a powerful multimedia player that can create an engaging and interactive environment where students can learn. The PlayStation can be used to access media from flash drives, and can easily be hooked up to a projector to provide access to video, audio and HTML files in the classroom. Since PlayStations are a familiar device for many students, the environment can be motivating to students who otherwise struggle in class. Nearly half of the teachers surveyed by Games and Learning report that it is generally low-performing students who benefit from the use of games and gaming consoles in the classroom.
For older students interested in computer design and game development, devkits are available from Sony and are often provided at no cost to some organizations and companies. By taking a look at Sony’s website, educators can submit their application to get devkits that their students can use to create their own games and projects.
Game design is a combination of math, critical thinking, art design and writing, making it a wonderful capstone project for students. For educators who are willing to make the leap, the PlayStation 4 can be a valuable asset to any classroom.