Digital Games And Kids - A Different Perspective

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The "Wikipedia problem" which means children turning to internet for readymade answers could be the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. You can find almost equal quantities of teachers who consider technology to become a solution as much as a problem. While a standard belief is that technologies are hindering the students' ability to think and analyze, there's also a strong opinion for video games and digital gadgets' power 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 in the process of classroom learning.

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Children are inherently inquisitive creatures. These people have a curiosity to discover a new challenge and learn by way of discovering and experimenting before they are subjected to strategies to formal education such as reading or writing. Science is really a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The country's Science Education Standards emphasize that "science education should give students three types 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 need to be able to devise and perform investigations that test their ideas, and so they need to understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful. Studies show that students less difficult more likely to understand and retain the concepts that they have learned in this way ". Hence, it becomes imperative to engage children in science education with an early stage.

Digital games are more capable to gain students' interests and a focus than other conventional way of imparting education in the classroom. However, some educationists also regard them as culprits of exponential decline in the attention span in children. The next sections in this post discuss the involvement of babies in games inside the tech age, varieties of games available in the market along with the impact of digital gaming as learning aids in classrooms.

Gaming and the New Age Kids

Technology has expanded the horizons of games in the modern world. Kids are afflicted by far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over 50 years back. Involvement of babies in digital gaming is because of many significant adjustments to the lifestyle and culture of the modern society. Easy accessibility of technology, dispensable income on account of dual income families and deficiency of infrastructure for outdoor activities in numerous cities are some major contributors to produce screen games an important part of the children's' lives. A survey by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) discovered that only 20 percent in the census blocks are within half miles of a block boundary. Also, the effects of peer pressure can not be undermined in these times of social networking.

The digital gaming market is one of the fastest growing segments with the global entertainment industry. US is witnessing unprecedented penetration of digital games amongst youngsters. In the united states, 97% of the teens play some sort 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 the usage of digital gaming like a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions may also be employing innovative methods to leverage the digital advantage for helping 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 embark on 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 for example sound and visual effects. Digital games will also be 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 gamer enacts the role of a particular character in a virtual world moving derived from one of level to the other depending on the outcome of the earlier level. RPGs might be single player for example 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 Massive Multiple Online Role-Playing Games are extra time of the RPGs where large number of players interacts in an online virtual world. Simulation games create realistic situations in virtual worlds. The results will depend on the player's decision-making and responsiveness and will be closely similar to what could happen in a real world inside the same situation. Popular in training and analysis, simulation games are also 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 problem-solving and analysis with varying levels of difficulty depending on the nature of the game. Crosswords and treasure hunts games are basic kinds of puzzle games in both physical and digital form.

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

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

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

Digital games are already facing constant rebuke for allegedly enhancing aggression amongst kids and developing a violent streak in 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. Usage of 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, besides social networking, are considered for reduced exercising 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 caused by excessive gaming in youngsters. Some studies also advise that the children playing games are unable to concentrate for a long span and still have reduced attention span.

Children are inclined to absorbing socially unacceptable behavior through some digital games like using profanities and ill-treating the fairer sex. Deficiency of adequate knowledge about screening the fabric available online is a growing concern among the parents.

Digital games are believed a hindrance to better performance in academics. Students in many cases are found to skip homework to experience games leading to deteriorated performance in 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), advance of artifacts (from videos to software code) and systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships all together). 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 happens when the senses are stimulated. Although some studies show that digital gaming reduces attention span, there are strong evidences of improved concentration simply speaking intervals of time. Digital games involve keeping an eye on every detail, follow the rules and respond proactively on the given situation. Complex digital games assistance is developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Some games also involve logical research situation and pattern recognition and improve memorizing thus assisting inside the cognitive process. Playing from the rules teaches children to just accept and respect some 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 gamers to cooperate for mutually desired goal. They teach the gamers to accept defeat as well as strive for better results. Digital games provide an avenue for hyperactive kids to direct the vitality 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 exercising such as Nintendo Wii boxing helping kids to interact mentally and physically with the kids. Complex digital games involve advanced level of multitasking thus improving brain's natural learning process. Brain based learning theory proposes that multi-tasking is surely an inherent activity with the brain and learning is enhanced by challenges at various levels. Digital games develop efficient situational analysis and strategy making in youngsters. 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 like scoring points, retaining energy and reaching the ultimate goal of the game. Simulation games along with the role-playing digital games help players gain expertise or learn by experiencing in replicas of down to earth situations. Experiential learning and action learning theories depend on the premise that individuals learn faster once they by experiencing and participating in action.