Digital games are fun, engaging and seductive. They are highly interactive and provide both a challenge and instant, visual feedback within a safe virtual learning environment. In short, digital games engage young people in a way that traditional classroom language activities simply cannot. However, there are language teachers who fear that employing digital games within the classroom may have a negative impact upon learning; they can distract from learning as students concentrate on the objective of completing the game rather than using them as a language learning tool (Buckingham, 2006). Others suggest that the time learners spend in front of a screen could instead be spent, for example engaged in a role-play or mingling social activity.
But aside from providing entertainment, language teachers have to take into account that digital games have been found to serve a range of educational functions. They encourage different ways of learning and thinking and provide the opportunity to teach and practice language skills and encourage imagination, creativity and exploration (Gee, 2003). Digital games help pupils to develop key language and learning skills such as: cognitive processing, logical thinking and independent decision making apart from encouraging interpersonal relationships, thus encouraging cooperative and competitive behaviour since some of them enable players to embody different characters thus helping to breed attitudes of tolerance and understanding.
21st language learners need to be motivated in ways different from what traditional education has offered so far; they enjoy spending time exploring the internet and playing games alone or connected with friends or classmates, so they are used to technology that sometimes their teachers don’t have any idea about. Present language teaching must include digital games to motivate them in a more meaningful and contextualized manner (Prensky, 2009). In my opinion, incorporating digital games within education provides a valuable link between language activities within the classroom and life outside school and such a connection helps to reinforce learning and encourages pupils to continue to develop their language and ICT skills outside the classroom environment.