26 July 2007

Asperger's and video games

This is a slightly modified version of a post I made to my blog No Straight Lines.

I use SiteMeter on this and other sites to track visits (look in the bottom of the right column if you’ve missed it). It is interesting to see how many people visit the site, and where they come from (all over the world), but what fascinates me the most is the referrer log. I get the odd link from someone else’s blog or other site, but the vast majority of referrals to this blog come from search engine queries.

It is interesting to see what search terms people use that find my sites. Even more interesting are the other sites that those search terms turn up. For instance, a search for “video games and autism and gee” returned a link to my blog No Straight Lines, but also a link to Gaming and Students with Asperger’s Syndrome: A Literature Review:

As a teacher in the field of middle years education, I have observed a continual rising interest in video and online gaming by many of my students, regardless of gender and academic ability. In the past few years, I encountered students playing an online game set in a virtual environment (VE) called Runescape. My interest was especially piqued when I noticed students with special needs, especially those with Asperger’s Syndrome(AS) playing the game and exhibiting positive social and cognitive skills that he would rarely demonstrate in a traditional classroom environment. Students with AS were discussing the game with other classmates (and myself) in and outside the classroom. They were asking how to spell words and utilize a calculator in order to achieve objectives within the game. They were problem solving and surfing the web for online discussion groups associated with the game.

In this literature review, I will seek to answer the following questions: What educational learning principles and concepts are associated with online gaming? How do these aspects of gaming benefit students with AS? In turn, I will present a review of the latest research on the issues related to education and gaming, present an overall framework of the game Runescape, discuss some of the defining characteristics of AS, then explore how certain aspects of gaming benefit students with AS.

A nice pulling together of several of my areas of interest. The Lit Review itself is well worth a read, and the bibliography provides even more.

2 comments:

Bonnie Ventura said...

Hi Brett. I agree that video games can be very educational; my son learned a lot about history, as well as the general human tendency to engage in conflicts over resources, from playing games like "Lords of the Realm" and "Age of Empires." Strategy games also can help kids develop the ability to plan ahead.

As for the students described in the article, I have to wonder: if they rarely exhibit positive social and cognitive skills in the classroom environment, maybe there are some low expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies going on.

Larry Welkowitz said...

Agreed. But video games can go two ways: Either helpful or "over-the-top addictive. How do we keep involvement reasonable?

Larry