This is the question I posed to the audience at CCHAG on 9 August at Ft. Belvoir at the beginning of my talk about serious games, and Cultural Recon. Games often get a bad rap in our society. They’re something we do when we’re not doing the things we should be doing.
— We’re playing solitaire on our work computers when we should be working on that PowerPoint presentation for our boss.
— We’re playingWords With Friends on our smartphone in that training briefing when we should be paying attention.
… You get the idea.
Because of this, most people have come to think that the opposite of play is work. We know the phrase, “work hard; play hard,” for example. However the opposite of play is not work: it is depression.
You don’t have to believe me; you can read a short interview with Dr Stuart Brown posted by the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, that says the very same thing.
However, games are probably the best teaching medium. Cognitive scientist Daphne Bavelier studies how video games affect the brain. She has discovered that video games help us learn, focus and multitask. Games help us achieve higher order thinking skills and greater cognitive ability; they increase executive functioning of the brain. This is because games are not “mindless;” when we play games we conduct serious work.
Again, you don’t have to believe me, you can watch her Ted Talk:
CCHAG was a terrific time, and a terrific audience. We had several inspirational discussions, and look forward to furthering our conversations from the day!