Digital Games And Kids – A Different Perspective

The “Wikipedia problem” which means children turning to internet for readymade answers is the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. There are almost equal numbers of teachers who consider technology to be a solution as much as a problem. While a common belief is that technology is hindering the students’ capacity to think and analyze, there is also 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. In spite of the growing concern about the students’ deteriorating attention spans, institutions are incorporating them in the process of classroom learning.

Children are inherently inquisitive creatures. They have a curiosity to discover new things and learn by way of discovering and experimenting even before they are subjected to methods of formal education such as reading or writing. Science is a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The National Science Education Standards emphasize that “science education needs to give students three kinds of scientific skills and understandings. Students need to learn the principles and concepts of science, acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, and understand the nature of science as a particular form of human endeavor. Students therefore need to be able to devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas, and they need to understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful. Studies show that students are much more likely to understand and retain the concepts that they have learned this way “. Hence, it becomes imperative to engage children in science education at an early stage.

Digital games are more capable to gain students’ interests and attention than other conventional means of imparting education in a classroom. However, some educationists also regard them as culprits of exponential decline in the attention span in children. The next sections in this article discuss the involvement of children in games in the tech age, types of games available in the market and the impact of digital gaming as learning aids in classrooms.

Gaming and the New Age Kids

Digital technology has expanded the horizons of video gaming in the modern world. Kids are subjected to far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over half a century back. Involvement of kids in digital gaming is a result of many significant changes in the lifestyle and culture of the modern society. Easy accessibility of technology, dispensable income due to dual income families and lack of infrastructure for outdoor activities in many cities are some major contributors in making screen games an important part of the children’s’ lives. A study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) found that only 20 percent of the census blocks are within half a mile of a block boundary. Also, the effect of peer pressure cannot be undermined in these times of social networking.

The digital gaming market is one of the fastest growing segments of the global entertainment industry. US is witnessing unprecedented penetration of digital games amongst youngsters. In the US, 97% of the teens play some type of game on a regular basis. In India, the gaming market has grown manifold in the last few years. Hence, it is imperative that educationists are continuously contemplating the use of digital gaming as a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions are also employing innovative ways to leverage the digital advantage for enhancing the learning experience at schools.

What are Digital Games?

There is no concrete definition of games as it may vary with an individual’s preference and profession. Games can be defined as a “system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, which result in a quantifiable outcome”. Technology and digitization add new dimensions to games where simulations, interactivity, augmented reality, alternative reality, collective intelligence and sensory stimulators such as sound and visual effects. Digital games are also characterized by their portability and limitless accessibility.

Role-playing games, simulation games and puzzles are some of the most popular digital games. In role-playing games, the player enacts the role of a particular character in a virtual world moving from one level to the other based on the outcome of the earlier level. RPGs can be single player such as the dungeons and dragons from earlier days of gaming or multi-player games such as Diablo III, Xenoblade, Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Mass Effect 3. MMORPG or the Massive Multiple Online Role-Playing Games are an extension of the RPGs where large number of players interacts in an online virtual world. Simulation games create realistic situations in virtual worlds. The outcome will depend on the player’s decision-making and responsiveness and will be closely similar to what may happen in a real world in the same situation. Widely used in training and analysis, simulation games are also 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 a long time. Puzzles genre of digital games involves problem solving and analysis with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the nature of the game. Crosswords and treasure hunt games are basic forms of puzzle games in both physical and digital form.

All types of digital games involve a social involvement of players. Some need collaborative efforts to play while others may be discussed or analyzed socially. In spite 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 and enhanced inside or outside the game. Incorporating digital gaming in the basic education framework can lead to augmented competitiveness and multi-dimensional growth in children.

Digital Games in Science Education – Why and Why Not?

The 21st century requires the mentors and the students to integrate technology into the curriculum. Though the ultimate goal is to benefit the students in terms of 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 in general and in context with the education are listed below:

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

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

Addiction to games is also known to make kids socially secluded. Impulsive behavior, depression and increased anxiety levels are largely attributed to excessive gaming in children. Some studies also suggest that the children playing games are unable to concentrate for a long span and have reduced attention span.

Children are prone to absorbing socially unacceptable behavior through some digital games such as using profanities and ill-treating the fairer sex. Lack of adequate knowledge about screening the material available online is a growing concern amongst the parents.

Digital games are considered a hindrance to better performance in academics. Students are often found to skip homework to play games leading to deteriorated performance at school. However, despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have in fact 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), creation of artifacts (from videos to software code) and systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships as a whole). Strong arguments in favor of using digital games as learning aids in 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 occurs when the senses are stimulated. While some studies show that digital gaming reduces attention span, there are strong evidences of improved concentration in short intervals of time. Digital games involve keeping an eye on every detail, follow the rules and respond proactively to the given situation. Complex digital games help is developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Some games also involve logical analysis of the situation and pattern recognition and improve memorizing thus assisting in the cognitive process. Playing by the rules teaches children to accept and respect a certain 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 skills in a team and train the players to cooperate for mutually desired goal. They teach the players to accept defeat as well as strive for better results. Digital games provide an avenue for hyperactive kids to direct the energy in a constructive system based game. They also provide an outlet to release aggression and frustration, thus helping in diffusing stress. Some games also involve physical activity such as Nintendo Wii boxing helping kids to engage mentally and physically with the kids. Complex digital games involve high level of multitasking thus improving brain’s natural learning process. Brain based learning theory proposes that multi-tasking is an inherent activity of the brain and learning is enhanced by challenges at various levels. Digital games develop efficient situational analysis and strategy making in children. Since games have certain objectives at every level and a final objective of the game, it teaches players to devise short term and long-term strategies such as scoring points, retaining energy and reaching the ultimate goal of the game. Simulation games and the role-playing digital games help players gain expertise or learn by experiencing in replicas of real world situations. Experiential learning and action learning theories are based on the premise that individuals learn faster when they by experiencing and actually participating in action.

“Games require the kind of thinking that we need in the 21st Century because they use actual learning as the basis for assessment. They test not only current knowledge and skills, but also preparation for future learning. They measure 21st century skills like collaboration, innovation, production, and design by tracking many different kinds of information about a student, over time. ”

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Most Important Real Estate Tips

Real estate property investments are a risky field. Many people claim they have the smartest advice for making it a profitable venture. Most of these statements are just false beliefs and will not benefit your money in the future. Here are some advice that actually work and every investor must take note.How Much ExperienceOne doesn’t need extensive financial experience to invest in property. Many blue collar members think they cannot handle investing in real estate because of their lack of experience. But all one actually needs is a practical business sense and self-assurance when making deals with a mortgage broker or loan officer.ConnectionsEven if you do not require financial experience, it aides to have peers or contacts in the real estate business. These contacts can link you with more authentic or experienced people in real estate or offer tips on how to manage the market. Though some may not agree to help, a good percentage will be more than willing.How Much a Person Should KnowAnother misconception is that one needs to know much about real estate prior to investing. Opposing this well known belief, many individuals start out with a fundamental or slight understanding of the market. After all the information gathering is finished, experience is still the best teacher.Taking that Big LeapIt is not always smart to play it safe. Many beginning investors would rather spend on tiny properties. Truthfully, it’s more worthwhile to take a risk on something with large promise. The greatest thinkers and inventors in the past were believed to be fools during their time. Just like them, you will have to live dangerously to enjoy the advantages of your investment.The Cash RequiredOne does not need to be rich to spend on real estate. Although most major players have acquired enough wealth, most of them engaged in risks with their money. A business venture is always a risk. Either you profit or you lose some.Venturing into finance is different from setting aside money for your personal property. Distinct from savings, investments enable with you profits which let you pay back your mortgages. Cash will be spent but you’ll have means of earning it back.

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Real estate isn’t an easy concept to deal with. If you Google it online, you can really find a lot of articles about it. Here’s another article to help you in your real estate dealing, so you better read along:When you come across with a quiet market, it’s not good to be in a hurry to conduct property exchanges. It would be better to take contracts away and look into them.
To transfer lease holders to a wrap:Approach your lease holders and set the scene with them by saying, “I am presuming that in time, you’d want to own this house, as I can see in your mind’s eye that being a homeowner is important for you.”
If you get a good response from them, it’s easier for you to talk about how uncomplicated it is to carry out the paperwork of ownership, or a wrap, and make it clear that it’s good to start the paperwork process now so that it will easily be approved by solicitors later on.Even if they don’t want to do it right away, it’s best that you have the paperwork started and organized so whenever they’re ready to transfer, the paperwork’s all done now.Enlighten them that they’re going to have peace of mind as always sine their monthly repayments will remain fixed or could also go down; then you’ll also be working with them on their wrap payments and strive to get those lowered than their existing lease payments. Always remember that lower monthly payments are always a great motivation so lease holders become enticed to switch from a lease option to a wrap.Whenever you come to a point where you can’t manage to make the wrap payments lower than the lease option payments, they might decide to retain the lease. Still, transferring them to a wrap contract is rather beneficial than refinancing with a bank since you’ll obtain the final payment and the lump sum for the house.For the meantime, persistently tell them again that they’ve always dreamed of owning their own home. It’s even better to make the conversation more emotional by talking to them about transferring ownership into their names and that it’s an even bigger step because they are investing into their own home.In buying a property, it’s best to replace the contract’s “access clause” to another term like “unlimited right to inspection” clause. The former may likely make people nervous as it seems like they need to give access to their house regularly. With the latter, “unlimited right to inspection”, its best that you explain to them that the plumber or one of your inspectors may have to come back a second or third time. Mostly, people happily agree to this type of clause and this is also an easy way for you to get access to your house.