The “Wikipedia problem” which suggests children turning to internet for readymade answers could be the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. You will find almost equal variety of teachers who consider technology to become solution as much as a problem. While a typical belief is that technologies are hindering the students’ capacity to think and analyze, additionally there is a strong opinion for video games and digital gadgets’ power to engage students and enhance learning through the use of 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.
Children are inherently inquisitive creatures. There is a curiosity to discover new things and learn by way of discovering and experimenting before they are subjected to strategies to formal education for example reading or writing. Science is often a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The country’s Science Education Standards emphasize that “science education must give students three kinds of scientific skills and understandings. Students should try to learn 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 must be able to devise and perform investigations that test their ideas, and they need to understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful. Research has shown that students less complicated more likely to understand and retain the concepts that they have learned by doing this “. Hence, it is imperative to engage children in science education at an early stage.
Digital games tend to be more capable to gain students’ interests and a spotlight than other conventional means 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 children in games inside the tech age, forms of games available in the market along with 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 exposed to far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over fifty years back. Involvement of kids in digital gaming is because many significant alterations in the lifestyle and culture of the modern society. Easy accessibility of technology, dispensable income because of dual income families and lack of infrastructure for outdoor activities in several cities are some major contributors to make screen games a fundamental part of the children’s’ lives. A study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) learned that only 20 percent with the census blocks are within half an arms length of a block boundary. Also, the effects of peer pressure can not be undermined in these times of social media.
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 america, 97% of the teens play some sort 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 application of digital gaming like a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions are also employing innovative solutions to leverage the digital advantage for enhancing the learning experience at schools.
What are Digital Games?
There is absolutely no concrete definition of games as it might vary with an individual’s preference and profession. Games can be defined as a “system in which players take part in artificial conflict, determined by rules, which create a quantifiable outcome”. Technology and digitization add new dimensions to games where simulations, interactivity, augmented reality, alternative reality, collective intelligence and sensory stimulators like sound and visual effects. Digital games may also be characterized by their portability and limitless accessibility.
Role-playing games, simulation games and puzzles are the most popular digital games. In role-playing games, you 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 may be single player such as the dungeons and dragons from earlier era of gaming or multi-player games for example Diablo III, Xenoblade, Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Mass Effect 3. MMORPG or even the Massive Multiple Online Role-Playing Games are an extension box of the RPGs where great 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 are closely similar to what may occur in a real world in the same situation. Trusted in training and analysis, simulation games will also be popular due to their unpredictable and personalized outcomes. Flight Simulator X, Love 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 examples of difficulty depending on the nature of the game. Crosswords and treasure hunt games are basic varieties 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. Notwithstanding some games being accused of outright violent visual effects, a well-designed game can accelerate the attitude by motivating, engaging, involving creativity and making a meta-game i.e., social interactions inspired that has been enhanced inside or outside the game. Incorporating digital gaming inside the basic education framework can cause augmented competitiveness and multi-dimensional increase in children.
Digital Games in Science Education – Why why is this so?
The 21st century necessitates mentors and the students to integrate technology in the curriculum. Though the ultimate goal is usually to benefit the students with regards to learning and experience, unsupervised, unorganized or irrelevant application can bring about complete failure or have negative effects. Some of the negative impacts of digital games normally and in context with all the education are listed below:
Digital games have already been facing constant rebuke for allegedly enhancing aggression amongst kids and having 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. 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, aside from social networking, are considered for reduced exercise leading to obesity in kids and postural and skeletal disorders.
Addiction to games can also make kids socially secluded. Impulsive behavior, depression and increased anxiety levels are largely attributed to excessive gaming in children. Some studies also advise that the children playing games cannot concentrate for a long span and also have reduced attention span.
Children are given to absorbing socially unacceptable behavior through some digital games such as using profanities and ill-treating the fairer sex. Insufficient 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 learn 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 in general). Strong arguments and only using digital games as learning is great for 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. Although some studies show that digital gaming reduces attention span, you can find strong evidences of improved concentration in a nutshell 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 assistance 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 within the cognitive process. Playing through the rules teaches children to simply accept and respect a certain level of discipline.
Multi-player digital games build a sense of constructive competitive attitude. Collaborative games also improve team-building attitude. They develop personal time management in a team and train the members to cooperate for mutually desired goal. They teach the members to accept defeat and also strive for better results. Digital games provide an avenue for hyperactive kids to direct the power in a constructive system based game. In addition they provide an outlet release a 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 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 at every level and a final purpose of the game, it teaches players to plot short term and long-term strategies for example scoring points, retaining energy and reaching the greatest goal of the game. Simulation games and 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 derive from the premise that individuals learn faster once they by experiencing and participating in action.