Video games can be powerful learning tool

Being exposed to video games at an early age encourages children to experiment with technology (Pre-schoolers get early start in coding game; May 22).

The younger the children are exposed to coding and programming, the faster they can learn.

Video games are a powerful way to get children interested in technology.

They can mess around with the game, design things and learn basic technical skills that will reap rewards down the road.

Many parents are concerned about their children playing games.

But if children are learning from these, then they should be given the opportunity to play. Such play may also strengthen a range of cognitive skills, such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception.

For example, playing shooter games improves children's capacity to think about objects in three dimensions. Such spatial skills can help children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Video games may also help children develop problem-solving skills and enhanced thinking that cannot be acquired through other games such as puzzles.

Children can also learn resilience when they fail in games.

Singapore, as a society, needs to get to a point where everyone has the opportunity and ability to play with technology and experiment with different things.

This is the first step to get more people interested in engineering.

If video games can be supplemented with educational content, they will be a great learning tool.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2017, with the headline 'Video games can be powerful learning tool'. Print Edition | Subscribe