Friday, 12 August 2016

Online gaming may boost school scores. Social media? Not so much

Online gaming may boost school scores. Social media? Not so much

If you or your kids are avid gamers, here's some good news: All that strategising may have a beneficial impact on school results. Whether regular Facebook use is a drag on one's English test scores — that's another question.

A study conducted by Alberto Posso, a professor at Australia's RMIT University, found that teenagers who played online video games regularly were often able to improve their school scores. 

Students who were daily social media users, he found tended to under perform in maths, reading and science. "The results suggest that a student who uses online social networks on a daily basis will also obtain a grade in math that is 20 points lower than a student who never uses this type of social media," Posso said in the report.

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The study gathered information about the online activities of more than 12,000 15-year-olds, as well as their maths, reading and science scores. The data was collected in the 2012 instalment of the OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assesses academic results internationally via a survey given to a random selection of schools.
While it should make headlines, you have to say it's not really a reflection of current practice."
Since the study's data was collected in 2012 however, it likely does not accurately reflect current technology use by teenagers.

"I think technology practices move so quickly, even within a year," Nicola Johnson, deputy head of the School of Education, Federation University Australia, told Mashable Australia. "While it should make headlines, you have to say it's not really a reflection of current practice."

Students in the PISA test were asked to self-report — always problematic — their social media and gaming usage from "never, to once or twice a month, to once or twice a week, to almost every day, to every day." But as Johnson pointed out, you would be hard pressed to find a 15-year-old in Australia in 2016 that goes on social media only once a week, let alone once a day. 

Posso told Mashable Australia it would be useful in the future to ask "how many minutes per day" or "how many hours in a week."

"Most academic studies are outdated in that regard," he said. "The process always takes a long time ... having said that, probably whatever results are in the paper would be stronger now given that uptake is larger."

Johnson said she was not surprised the study found online gaming could be advantageous. "Many games involve a lot of strategising, problem solving, goal setting and regular practice in order to obtain more skills. That kind of mindset would of course seemingly correspond with achievement and learning."

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