The American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, originally from Germany, started a campaign against the immensely popular comic strips in the 1950s. Wertham aimed his arrows at what he called crime comics, the comic strips in which detective and gangster fight each other, wars are fought with human opponents, monsters, aliens, and so on. According to Wertham, it could be scientifically proven that the violent and sexual content of those comics had a devastating effect on the sense of normality of American youth.
Although Wertham’s scientific evidence was paper-thin, his cry of alarm was heard. It came to a hearing in the Senate, a code of conduct for comic strip makers, and a wave of purge in the comic bookshelves. But in doing so, Wertham had denied many American children the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild and identify with heroes. A boy who until then had read with red ears the space adventures of Flash Gordon, Charles Bolden, is now director of the space agency NASA. Wertham has expressed regret for this, albeit only two decades later, at a congress of American comic artists. He even ventured to publish on the positive link between comics and creativity, but he was unable to regain confidence.
No Time for Homework
But parents, and maybe teachers too, will from time to time carefully consider how much time is spent on gaming? Every scientific study of gaming and behavior starts with this effect: there are only 24 hours in a day, and every hour spent on gaming, no homework is done. You might think that gaming, in moderation, is good for learning performance. Playing games is learning, and brain gymnastics is good. Koot and Bie already sang it thirty years ago: ‘Take a jog through your upstairs room, trim a bit more with your brain. Within a week you will be kilos more proficient, also be on the leash mentally.’ Some studies have found fruit in less obvious areas, such as language skills. For example, in research by an American authority in the field: Constance Steinkuehler, professor at the University of Wisconsin and advisor to President Obama on video games and learning for several years. Steinkuehler researched ‘World of Warcraft’, a complex game in which players have their own character, their avatar, in the crowded online fantasy world of Warcraft. Language skills appeared to be stimulated not only by the role-playing itself but also by the well-attended discussion forums about the game.
Gaming at school?
The obvious conclusion is that education should make use of games. And a lot of research is now being done on this, not only in the US but also in the Netherlands, including in the Center for Gaming Research at Utrecht University. Here too, a moral debate can flare up again: should education go along with the world of gaming or should it give the students, who are being mad about their games, the peace of mind of a good book? Aside from that moral debate, Ferguson says, it is clear that games can serve educational purposes. If you want to take advantage of that, you have to think about the speed difference: gaming is a race track compared to school. Education should be careful not to go along with this too much because you can fly out of the corner, he warns, but some adjustment would be good. Not only because that high speed is a measure of the society in which students will work, but also for a pragmatic reason: “To get the attention of students, education must compete with the other things that children do, including gaming. In a competitive struggle, education is lagging behind, because gaming is fun and school is boring. That has never been different. I found school quite boring. So it must continue to develop in order to get the child’s attention.” If you are interested in a multiplayer online battle arena and you don’t have an account visit ‘buy LOL account‘ for more details.