The "Wikipedia problem" which suggests children turning to internet for readymade answers could be the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. You'll find almost equal amounts of teachers who consider technology to become a solution as much as a problem. While a typical belief is that technology is hindering the students' ability to think and analyze, there's also a strong opinion and only video games and digital gadgets' capability 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 when classroom learning.
Youngsters are inherently inquisitive creatures. They have a curiosity to discover something totally new and learn by way of discovering and experimenting before they are subjected to methods of formal education including reading or writing. Science can be a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The nation's Science Education Standards emphasize that "science education needs to give students three kinds of scientific skills and understandings. Students need to read the principles and concepts of science, find the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, and see the nature of science as a particular form of human endeavor. Students therefore should be able to devise and accomplish investigations that test their ideas, and they also need to understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful. Studies show that students less difficult more likely to understand and support the concepts that they have learned this way ". Hence, it will become imperative to engage children in science education with 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 loss of the attention span in children. The next sections in this post discuss the involvement of babies in games in the tech age, varieties of games available in the market along with the impact of digital gaming as learning is great for classrooms.
Gaming and the New Age Kids
Digital technology has expanded the horizons of game playing in the modern world. Kids are afflicted by far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over five decades back. Involvement of babies in digital gaming is a result of many significant adjustments to the lifestyle and culture in 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 in making screen games an important part of the children's' lives. Research by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) found out that only 20 percent from the census blocks are within half one mile of a block boundary. Also, the consequence of peer pressure can not be undermined in these times of social network.
The digital gaming companies are one of the fastest growing segments from 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 is continuing to grow manifold in the last few years. Hence, it is imperative that educationists are continuously contemplating using digital gaming like a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions are also employing innovative approaches to leverage the digital advantage for raising the learning experience at schools.
Precisely what are Digital Games?
There is no concrete definition of games as it can certainly vary with an individual's preference and profession. Games serves as a a "system in which players engage in artificial conflict, based on rules, which cause a quantifiable outcome". Technology and digitization add new dimensions to games where simulations, interactivity, augmented reality, alternative reality, collective intelligence and sensory stimulators including 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, the ball player enacts the role of a particular character inside a virtual world moving in one level to the other in line with the outcome of the earlier level. RPGs can be single player such as the dungeons and dragons from earlier events of gaming or multi-player games such as Diablo III, Xenoblade, Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Mass Effect 3. MMORPG or perhaps the Massive Multiple Online Role-Playing Games are an extension cord of the RPGs where large number of players interacts within an online virtual world. Simulation games create realistic situations in virtual worlds. The end result will depend on the player's decision-making and responsiveness and you will be closely similar to what may occur in a real world inside the same situation. Traditionally used in training and analysis, simulation games may also be popular due to their unpredictable and personalized outcomes. Flight Simulator X, Love Speed (LFS) and Need for Speed have already been extremely popular simulation games for a long period. Puzzles genre of digital games involves solving problems and analysis with varying numbers of difficulty depending on the nature in the game. Crosswords and treasure hunts games are basic varieties of puzzle games in the physical and digital form.
All sorts of digital games involve a social involvement of players. Some need collaborative efforts to try out while others may be discussed or analyzed socially. Notwithstanding some games being charged with outright violent visual effects, a well-designed game can accelerate the thinking process by motivating, engaging, involving creativity and having a meta-game i.e., social interactions inspired that has been enhanced inside or outside the action. Incorporating digital gaming from the basic education framework can bring about augmented competitiveness and multi-dimensional increase in children.
Digital Games in Science Education - Why and Why Not?
The 21st century requires the mentors and the students to integrate technology to the curriculum. Though the ultimate goal would be to benefit the students with regards to learning and experience, unsupervised, unorganized or irrelevant application can lead to complete failure and have negative effects. Some of the negative impacts of digital games generally and in context together with the education are listed below:
Digital games happen to be 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 linked to violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping. Using weapons and being rewarded if you are violent is a reason for widespread concern.
Digital games might be addictive for children to make them physically inactive. Digital games, apart from social networking, are considered for reduced physical exercise leading to obesity in kids and postural and skeletal disorders.
Addiction to games is known to make kids socially secluded. Impulsive behavior, depression and increased anxiety levels are largely caused by excessive gaming in children. Some studies also declare that the children playing games can't concentrate for a long span and possess reduced attention span.
Children are prone to absorbing socially unacceptable behavior through some digital games like using profanities and ill-treating the fairer sex. Not enough adequate knowledge about screening the information available online is a growing concern within the parents.
Digital games are believed a hindrance to better performance in academics. Students will often be found to skip homework to experience games leading to deteriorated performance in class. However, despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have the truth is 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 for 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. While many studies show that digital gaming reduces attention span, there are strong evidences of improved concentration simply speaking intervals of time. Digital games involve maintaining a tally of every detail, follow the rules and respond proactively to the given situation. Complex digital games there's help developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Some games also involve logical analysis of the situation and pattern recognition and improve memorizing thus assisting from the cognitive process. Playing through the rules teaches children to take and respect a certain level of discipline.
Multi-player digital games create a sense of constructive competitive attitude. Collaborative games also improve team-building attitude. They develop time management skills in a team and train the members to cooperate for mutually desired goal. They teach the gamers to accept defeat along with strive for better results. Digital games produce an avenue for hyperactive kids to direct the energy in a constructive system based game. In addition they provide an outlet to produce aggression and frustration, thus helping in diffusing stress. Some games also involve physical exercise such as Nintendo Wii boxing helping kids to interact 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 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 children. Since games have certain objectives at each and every level and a final objective of the game, it teaches players to plot short term and long-term strategies such as 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 learn 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 in actual fact participating in action.