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Should we be worried about our students’ gaming?

Fortnite, Minecraft, Battlefield 5, there’s a good chance that at least half of your students are spending a lot of time gaming. Back in the 1990s, there was a pretty steady chorus of criticism about the practice. There were and still are concerns about too much screen time and worries about viewing too much violence.

Kim Bevill says when you play games or even watch movies, your brain goes from a beta to an alpha state. “It’s a relaxation state where we’re highly suggestible,” says Bevill. “When your brain is in alpha it’s almost like your brain is in receive mode.”

Bevill helps train educators to understand how the brain works so educators can get better results in the classroom. She was also a guest on Episode 57 of the Class Dismissed Podcast where she talked about the impacts of exercise on the brain.

Bevill says there is research that suggests your brain can emphasize with what it’s seeing, but there’s no significant research that says playing a violent video game will lead to violent acts. Bevill says another side effect is that we sit when we play a lot of video games, so that’s less time being up and active.

However, students playing games is not all bad news. In fact, research indicates that there are some positive benefits. Video games can increase cognitive processing and can encourage neuroplasty.

Bevill says real-time strategy games can train the brain to learn faster and there’s a significant amount of evidence since 2009 that indicates gamers learn more quickly.

To hear our full conversation with Bevill, listen to Episode 58 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.

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