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New Book Pins Smart Video Games Against Standardized Tests

The introduction of technology in classrooms bred a whole new way that students can learn. One of those ways are through educational games (smart games), that have been designed to teach students while keeping them engaged. A new book by Greg Toppo says these games assess children better than standardized tests.

Toppo is USAToday’s national K-12 education writer according to a Washington Post Blog entry by Valerie Strauss. His book is titled, “The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.”

“Into this fray has entered a small group of educators and researchers who are pushing for a new approach, one that doesn’t back away from testing but embeds it into everything students do,” says Toppo in his book when speaking about the resistance to standardized testing.

“Long ago, these folks realized that millions of kids – the same kids, in fact, who sit for tests each spring – already enjoy access to a powerful tool that tests them constantly without actual tests or test prep. They are thinking, of course, about video games.”

Essentially games become a pivotal part of learning for children because it forces them to complete a task until they get it right and reward them when they do. Levels get harder just as grade levels in school, therefore, the challenge is continuously presented forcing the child try harder and think more critically each time.

“Linguist and games researcher James Paul Gee has written that games actually make players think like scientists,” says Toppo.

“Game play is built on a cycle of ‘hypothesize, probe the world, get a reaction, reflect on the results, reprobe to get better results.’ Game studios have created assessment systems that can tell players exactly how well they’ve done on thousands of variables, how their performance has improved and, if played online, how they stack up against millions of players – all without subjecting anyone to a multiple-choice test.”

While many may disagree with handing their children a video game and expecting them to learn something from it, Toppo argues that everything that a standardized test has is also present in smart video games. What standardized tests don’t have is the ability to engage children and get them excited about learning.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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