Video games to help students learn

October 10, 2008 4:01:35 PM PDT
Parents often have to convince their kids to stop playing video games and do their homework. But now some schools are using video games in their curriculum to teach students some very important lessons.Not only do students at IS 123 get to play educational video games, they have a choice of games to play.

"I played the home run derby game," student Desiree Rojas said. "It's fun because you have to get the answer as soon as possible before the ball passes you."

The games are generated by a Web-based program called Study Island, which is an important part of the curriculum at IS 123.

"It actually taught me how to divide and how to multiply," student Nyla Jones said.

Study Island is more than just fun and games. It is designed to help students study materials that meet the academic requirements in each subject, for each state where the program is used.

The games are similar to those kids already like to play. They earn the privilege of playing by scoring high on Study Island tests, which help educators keep track of student progress.

"It's material that's tested on the state test, so it's not that they're throwing in just basic level stuff," teacher Christina Varghese said. "They're actually giving them stuff that they need to know for the test, so because it's standards based, I really love it."

"It gives you more chances to make up what you got wrong," student Krizya Gutierrez said. "And if you got something wrong, it offers you an explanation."

IS 123 principal Virginia Connelly considers Study Island to be a successful part of the school's overall strategy.

"We've used it very extensively in math," she said. "And we've had tremendous growth in our math scores over the past three years, the same amount of time that we've been using it."

Study Island costs between $2,500 and $3,500 per year for each school. There are other ways of supplementing school curriculums, but educators at IS 123 feel it is worth the investment.

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STORY BY: Education reporter Art McFarland


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