Educational Games for Kids
For broader coverage of this topic, see serious game. Educational games are games explicitly designed with educational purposes, or which have incidental or secondary educational value. All types of games may be used in an educational environment, however educational games are games that are designed to help people learn about certain subjects, expand concepts, reinforce development, understand a historical event or culture, or assist them in learning a skill as they play. Game types include board , card , and video games. As educators, governments, and parents realize the psychological need and benefits that gaming has on learning, this educational tool has become mainstream.
Games are interactive play that teach us goals, rules, adaptation, problem solving, interaction, all represented as a story. They satisfy our fundamental need to learn by providing enjoyment, passionate involvement, structure, motivation, ego gratification, adrenaline, creativity, social interaction and emotion in the game itself while the learning takes place. Main articles: educational video game and video games in education. With the increase and availability of technological devices, there has been a shift in what types of games people play. Video or electronic gaming has become more widely used than traditional board games. For instance, the game of hide and seek. Good hiders need visual and spatial perspective to define the best hiding places, while seekers must be skilled at searching for cues from the surroundings and choosing the most probable location for the hider among various possible places. A systematic review investigated the effects of educational games for mental health students.
In his classical essay, “upon the aesthetic education of man”, Friedrich Schiller discusses play as a force of civilization, which helps humans rise above their instincts and become members of enlightened communities. He states that “humans are only fully human when they play”. While the text is limited by the author’s beliefs in concepts such as freedom and beauty, it nevertheless sets the stage for johan huizinga ‘s classical study, homo ludens.
Games have long been employed as a means of education. Using the ancient game of chess, noblemen of the middle ages learned strategies of war. During the civil war, volunteers from rhode island played american kriegsspiel , which had originally been created in 1812 for training prussian officers-of-war. Then, in the early 19th century, came the creation of kindergarten by friedrich fröbel , which was based on learning through play. Children delighted in his fröbel gifts , simple educational toys such as blocks, sewing kits, clay, and weaving materials.
According to richard n. Van eck, there are three main approaches to creating software that stimulates cognitive growth in the gamer. These three approaches are: building games from scratch created by educators and programmers; integrate commercial off-the-shelf (cots); and creating games from scratch by the students. The most time- and cost-effective approach to designing these educational games is to incorporate cots games into the classroom with the understanding of the learning outcomes the instructor has for the course. This requires the teacher to buy into the positive results of using digital games for education. It also requires teachers to have adequate self-efficacy concerning the use of these games and their technology.
The students usually have high amounts of self-efficacy in usage of digital games, while the lack of confidence teachers have in incorporating the digital games usually results in less effective educational use of the games. However, gerber and price (2013) have found that teachers’ inexperience with digital games does not preclude them from the desire to incorporate them in class instruction, but districts must have in place support through regular professional development, supportive learning communities with their colleagues, and adequate financial support to implement game-based learning in their class instruction. Games often have a fantasy element that engages players in a learning activity through narrative or storylines.
Educational video games can motivate children and allow them to develop an awareness of consequentiality. Children are allowed to express themselves as individuals while learning and engaging in social issues. Today’s games are more social , with most teens playing games with others at least some of the time and can incorporate many aspects of civic and political life. In classrooms, social game-based learning platforms are increasing in popularity, as they purport to enable students to reinforce knowledge and develop social and leadership skills. [ citation needed ]. The success of game-based learning strategies owes to active participation and interaction being at the center of the experience, and signals that current educational methods are not engaging students enough. Experience with and affinity for games as learning tools is an increasingly universal characteristic among those entering higher education and the workforce. Game-based learning is an expansive category, ranging from simple paper-and-pencil games like word searches all the way up to complex, massively multiplayer online (mmo) and role-playing games. They usually make up case studies designed to introduce students to certain technologies in an effort to prepare them for a future major assignment that requires the aforementioned technology. They have also been developed to work in the virtual world. More recently educational egames have been developed for higher education students, combining real-world case studies in a virtual environment for students to have a consistent, 24/7 educational ‘virtual’ experience. In some public schools implementing common core standards , game-based learning programs are utilized by educators to supplement their teaching programs.
According to a recent case study by an ed tech-based nonprofit organization, teachers find some digital learning games help address issues with alignment in common core. In the future, technology and games are expected to be used in simulation environments to simulate real world issues. In the professional sector, such as flight training, simulations are already used in an effort to prepare pilots for training before actually going out into planes. These training sessions are used to replicate real life stresses without the risk factor associated with flying. Simulation-games are used in other professional areas as well; a spy-themed learning game has been used to improve sales skills at avaya and a 3d simulation game has been used to train new york city emergency responders. Before deciding how to use game-based learning, the trainer must first determine what they would like the trainees to learn. A trainer that fails to focus training around a central idea runs the risk of using a game that fails to connect with the learners. To prevent this, tailor the material to the demographic (age group, familiarity, educational pre-text) so that the material is neither too difficult for, nor too familiar to the learner.
Gathering ideas from children early in the design process has yielded useful insights into what children want in technology in general or in a specific type of application. Children’s early involvement in requirements gathering has revealed clues about gender differences in preferences related to technology, children’s navigation skills, ways of presenting textual information, application-specific content-related preferences, the variety of elements to be included in user interfaces and their structures, and children’s desire to personalize their applications. Multiplayer role playing games (mmo’s) provide opportunities for players to improve such skills as, “complex learning, thinking, and social practices”. Mmo`s also provide a social network which can favor collaborative gaming and learning and contribute to the formation of teams, communication within a group and help strengthen individual and communal identities.
As a dedicated video gamer, i found this article (warning: math) extremely interesting. Now, the real point of the article is to to establish causation between time spent studying and educational achievement, so let me explain that before i get to the games. The authors find the effect of an additional hour of studying a day is equivalent to, on average, an increase in first-semester gpa of 0. 38. That’s equivalent to bumping two c’s to b’s, or two b’s to a’s – about an increase of 6% for one’s overall average on a percentage scale. This result also indicates that how well someone does in university depends heavily on how much work is put in, since assuming study effort is subject to diminishing returns would imply that the difference between no studying and putting in the average amount of work improves 4-point gpa by in excess of 1. 33 points, or 20% on the percentage scale (likely somewhat more) – enough to turn someone who typically earns c’s into an honour student, maybe more. Again, not a surprise, unless you believe that university performace is determined predominately by intelligence, which is hard to defend via common sense, but it’s a result that often pops up in these kind of papers, which the authors claim are statistically flawed for reasons i won’t go into.
Any parent of a young child with adhd knows that these kids often lack the capacity for self-regulation. This is particularly true when it comes to pleasurable activities that invite and reward hyperfocus. Thus, parents must be the ones to set and enforce limits — especially with children who have already become used to video-game overuse. Both parents must first agree on a set of rules. This task is often the hardest. How long can our child play on school nights? must homework be done first? chores? how about on weekends? which games are forbidden entirely (see “kid-friendly content,” at bottom)? if our child wants to play internet-based games, which sites are ok?. [ the neuroscience behind video game addiction ]. Sit down with your child to discuss the rules and explain how they’ll be enforced. Let’s say, your daughter is allowed to spend 30 minutes playing computer games on school nights. She can begin playing only after she’s finished her homework (and you’ve looked it over and helped her pack it in her book bag) and completed her chores (and you’ve checked them off on her chore chart). Then announce that the rules start now.
Gamers, defined as individuals who play computer or video games, have developed new and distinctive learning capacities. From the advent of Atari to the modern-day PlayStation 4 and World of Warcraft eSport competitions, skills that gamers have been developing and honing have also been shown to enhance capacity for learning acquisition, retention, and transfer. According to research done by the Pew Research Center, about half of American adults play video games. Therefore, as instructional designers and training content creators, understanding the concepts of how gaming enhances learning is important to the success of a program as a number of employee learners most likely either have this undiscovered and untapped acumen or would be able to develop it should gaming be introduced into the learning repertoire. Generally, video and computer games are designed so that players achieve a goal, whether it is to solve a puzzle, reach a new level, build something, or remain in the game against obstacles, hurdles, and interference. For learning, gaming is changing the ways in which we interact with our learning environments, as well as the skills for how we learn. The following are examples of how the skills learned while gaming can be applied to learning:
Gamers/Learners dive into the unknown, thrive on mystery, are willing to experiment, work with ambiguity, and make mistakes as they move their way through the game or simulation. They are comfortable knowing that the solution is not obvious yet is discoverable as they play. Within the gaming process, the neuroplasticity of the mind allows new pathways to be built based on the content and experience; and the more the pathways are created and reinforced, the better retention and recall the learner ultimately has. In the book entitled Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning, by Judy Willis, the author shares: Multiple stimuli means better memory. The more regions of the brain that store data about a subject, the more interconnection there is. This redundancy means students will have more opportunities to pull up all those related bits of data from their multiple storage areas in response to a single cue. This cross-referencing of data strengthens the data into something we’ve learned rather than just memorized.Gamers/Learners also notice things necessary to complete the goal, solve the puzzle, and/or reach the next level. They instinctively look for patterns, arrangements, and implicit instructions that lead them to success: Effective online training courses use strategies to help students recognize patterns and then make the connections required to process the new working memories so they can travel into the brain’s long-term storage areas.
Furthermore, Dr. Rick Van Eck, an Instructional Design professor and expert in learning and gaming, shares his research on the benefits of gaming in education and learning design in his TEDxManitoba talk The Gaming of Educational Transformation. He believes that games revolutionize education by exposing students to the following experiences and concepts: Situated Cognition – a student learns within the environment in which he or she will demonstrate that knowledge. Much like Experiential Learning, students learn-by-doing, think on-the-fly, and learning is absorbed and generalized in relation to the activity, context, and culture. Systems Thinking – a student learns to view a game or situation within the context of how things interact as a whole, interdependent, complex, and dynamic constructs. Collaboration – a student critically works with others to achieve success in the game or simulations while developing skills in social negotiation, strategy, and emotional intelligence.
Problem Solving – a student is faced with a challenge or goal that requires the generation of new knowledge to find the solution. Engagement – a student does not rely on fun or motivation to complete the task, but rather a cognitive effort. Games introduce engagement through the concept of the Zone of Proximal Development or “The Goldilocks Zone” — meaning the challenge is not too easy, not too hard, but just right in order to keep the gamer/learner engaged and in the problem-solving cycle. Gaming, while fun, challenging, collaborative, and addictive to some, also creates new capacities and beneficial skills that can be exploited when creating learning solutions.