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March 18 2016


Digital Games And youngsters - A Different Perspective


The "Wikipedia problem" which suggests children turning to internet for readymade answers is the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. You'll find almost equal quantities of teachers who consider technology to become solution as much as a problem. While a typical belief is that technologies are hindering the students' chance to think and analyze, additionally there is a strong opinion in favor of video games and digital gadgets' ability to engage students and enhance learning by using more than one sensory stimulators. Despite the growing concern about the students' deteriorating attention spans, institutions are incorporating them while classroom learning.

Children are inherently inquisitive creatures. They've got a curiosity to discover something totally new and learn by way of discovering and experimenting and before they are subjected to ways of formal education like reading or writing. Science is a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The nation's Science Education Standards emphasize that "science education must give students three types of scientific skills and understandings. Students need to learn the principles and concepts of science, discover the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, and view the nature of science as being a particular form of human endeavor. Students therefore must be able to devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas, and they also need to understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful. Research has shown that students less complicated more likely to understand and offer the concepts that they have learned this way ". Hence, it will become imperative to engage children in science education in an early stage.

Digital games tend to be capable to gain students' interests and attention than other conventional way of imparting education inside a classroom. However, some educationists also regard them as culprits of exponential loss of the attention span in kids. The next sections in this article discuss the involvement of babies in games within the tech age, varieties of games available in the market and the impact of digital gaming as learning helps with classrooms.

Gaming and the New Age Kids

Digital technology has expanded the horizons of gambling in the modern world. Kids are subjected to far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over five decades back. Involvement of youngsters in digital gaming is because many significant adjustments to the lifestyle and culture from the modern society. Easy accessibility of technology, dispensable income as a result of dual income families and not enough infrastructure for outdoor activities in several cities are some major contributors to make screen games an important part of the children's' lives. Research by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) discovered that only 20 percent with the census blocks are within half miles of a block boundary. Also, the effects of peer pressure can't be undermined in these times of social media.

The digital gaming companies are one of the fastest growing segments with the global entertainment industry. US is witnessing unprecedented penetration of digital games amongst youngsters. In america, 97% of the teens play some kind of game on a regular basis. In India, the gaming market has exploded manifold in the last couple of years. Hence, it is imperative that educationists are continuously contemplating the application of digital gaming like a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions may also be employing innovative solutions to leverage the digital advantage for enhancing the learning experience at schools.

What exactly are Digital Games?

There's no concrete definition of games as it might vary with an individual's preference and profession. Games serves as a a "system in which players participate in artificial conflict, defined by rules, which produce a quantifiable outcome". Technology and digitization add new dimensions to games where simulations, interactivity, augmented reality, alternative reality, collective intelligence and sensory stimulators for example sound and visual effects. Digital games are also characterized by their portability and limitless accessibility.

Role-playing games, simulation games and puzzles are one of the most popular digital games. In role-playing games, you enacts the role of a particular character in a virtual world moving in one level to the other using the outcome of the earlier level. RPGs might be single player including the dungeons and dragons from earlier days of gaming or multi-player games including Diablo III, Xenoblade, Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Mass Effect 3. MMORPG or the Massive Multiple Online Role-Playing Games are an extension box of the RPGs where large number of players interacts in the online virtual world. Simulation games create realistic situations in virtual worlds. The results will depend on the player's decision-making and responsiveness and you will be closely similar to what could happen in a real world from the same situation. Widely used in training and analysis, simulation games will also be popular due to their unpredictable and personalized outcomes. Flight Simulator X, Live for Speed (LFS) and Need for Speed have been extremely popular simulation games for some time. Puzzles genre of digital games involves solving problems and analysis with varying levels of difficulty depending on the nature from the game. Crosswords and treasure hunt games are basic forms of puzzle games in physical and digital form.

All sorts of digital games involve a social involvement of players. Some need collaborative efforts to learn while others may be discussed or analyzed socially. Regardless of some games being accused of outright violent visual effects, a well-designed game can accelerate the thinking process by motivating, engaging, involving creativity and developing a meta-game i.e., social interactions inspired that has been enhanced inside or outside the overall game. Incorporating digital gaming within the basic education framework can lead to augmented competitiveness and multi-dimensional growth in children.

Digital Games in Science Education - Why why is this so?

The 21st century demands the mentors and the students to integrate technology to the curriculum. Though the ultimate goal is always to benefit the students with regards to learning and experience, unsupervised, unorganized or irrelevant application can lead to complete failure or have negative effects. Some of the negative impacts of digital games generally speaking and in context with all the education are listed below:

 Digital games are already facing constant rebuke for allegedly enhancing aggression amongst kids and developing a violent streak with an early stage. In a study by Anderson and Bushman (2001), Children involved in violent video games are more inclined to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping. Utilization of weapons and being rewarded internet marketing violent is a reason for widespread concern.

 Digital games can be addictive for children to make them physically inactive. Digital games, aside from social networking, are considered for reduced physical exercise leading to obesity in kids and postural and skeletal disorders.

 Addiction to games has proven to make kids socially secluded. Impulsive behavior, depression and increased anxiety levels are largely caused by excessive gaming in youngsters. Some studies also advise that the children playing games can't concentrate for a long span and possess reduced attention span.

 Children are given to absorbing socially unacceptable behavior through some digital games including using profanities and ill-treating the fairer sex. Insufficient adequate knowledge about screening the pad available online is a growing concern among the parents.

 Digital games are viewed a hindrance to better performance in academics. Students are often found to skip homework to try out games leading to deteriorated performance in school. However, despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have in reality been shown to help children learn skills, content, and vital "21st-century" skills. From digital games children can learn: content (from rich vocabulary to science to history), skills (from literacy to math to complex problem-solving), coming of artifacts (from videos to software code) and systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships in general). Strong arguments and only using digital games as learning helps with secondary education are summarized below:

 Digital games involve extreme hand-eye coordination and enhance motor and sensory skills. Sensory stimulation theory proposed by academician Laird (1985) validates that effective learning takes place when the senses are stimulated. Even though some studies show that digital gaming reduces attention span, there are strong evidences of improved concentration in a nutshell intervals of time. Digital games involve keeping an eye on every detail, follow the rules and respond proactively towards the given situation. Complex digital games there's help developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Some games also involve logical research situation and pattern recognition and improve memorizing thus assisting in the cognitive process. Playing by the rules teaches children to just accept and respect some level of discipline.

 Multi-player digital games develop a sense of constructive competitive attitude. Collaborative games also improve team-building attitude. They develop time management strategies in a team and train the members to cooperate for mutually desired goal. They teach the players to accept defeat and also strive for better results. Digital games present an avenue for hyperactive kids to direct the force in a constructive system based game. Additionally they provide an outlet to produce aggression and frustration, thus helping in diffusing stress. Some games also involve exercising such as Nintendo Wii boxing helping kids to engage mentally and physically with the kids. Complex digital games involve advanced of multitasking thus improving brain's natural learning process. Brain based learning theory proposes that multi-tasking is surely an inherent activity in the brain and learning is enhanced by challenges at various levels. Digital games develop efficient situational analysis and strategy making in kids. Since games have certain objectives each and every level and a final objective of the game, it teaches players to plot short term and long-term strategies for example scoring points, retaining energy and reaching the supreme goal of the game. Simulation games along with the role-playing digital games help players gain expertise or improve by experiencing in replicas of real world situations. Experiential learning and action learning theories derive from the premise that individuals learn faster once they by experiencing and actually participating in action.

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