Games for your mind

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educational games for kids

Educational videogames

The use of educational games, e-learning and videogames in school education became one of the main objectives of many research centres around the world.

In United States Microsoft, Columbia University and New York University had started a partnership with the Games for learning institute, to conduct different researches on educational games, e-learning and videogames.
In Europe the need for an implementation of new educational tools in school education is the new scientific research’s challenge.
The aim of all these organizations is to conduct differnet researches on the use of games, e-learning and videogames as learning tools, trying to find the perfect implementation of these new digital tools  in school education.

The European Schoolnet recently completed a survey project called Games in School, developed to analyze the use of educational videogames in European schools.
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green toys

green toys

Ecofriendly gifts could be a great way to teach children an ecologic view.
I think that everyone of us knows how important are renewable energies to reduce the earth pollution and try to preserve our ecosystem.
Now days there are a lot of  ecofriendly gifts that work with solar energy and can be given to kids to introduce them to the ecological issues of our society.
Increase the energy standards in our cities and  change the way we produce Energy may be a too deep arguments for a child, but giving him an ecofriendly game powered by small photovoltaic cells could give the children the opportunity to familiarize with their future.
It’s not just about the battery savings or the fact that ecofriendly gifts are even cheaper than traditional ones, it’s about teaching something important to our children.
This is the real added value of these products:  When our son will ask us “how works this object?”, we will respond “with the sun” and we’ll explain the solar energy concept
In my opinion this is something highly positive for a child.
Maybe solar gifts will not be able to solve the global warming, but every little helps… and probably teaching an ecologic approach to the life to our children could help them to succeed tomorrow in what we’re failing today:  preserve our beloved and beautiful planet earth.

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Eco friendly gifts for him and her

Ecology and eco-friendly gifts

Jacob L. Moreno

Jacob L. Moreno

The term role-playing game has roots in the history of psychology.
In fact, The first to coin the term “Role Play” was Jacob L. Moreno in 1934, after experimenting in 1921 the “theatre of spontaneity”.

Jacob Levy Moreno was a leading psychiatrist, thinker and educator and has been recognized as one of the pioneer of group psychotherapy.

In 1930 Moreno emigrated to the United States and began to develop the technique of psychodrama which is still used in psychotherapy: in the psychodrama technique the patient has to recall and act (like he is on a stage) a past conflict he had against someone.

Then the roles are switched and the patient plays the part of his opponent to try to understand what the other person has felt in that occasion.

But this first sense of the word role-play has no relation with the role play intended as recreational activity, derived from war–games. dungeons and dragons

The role-playing games were played for the first time in the late sixties at the University of Minnesota war-game society.
In 1971, one student Gary Gygax developed in  a war-game with medieval setting called Chainmail, wich become very popular among all Minnesota undergratduates.

But was only in 1974, when Gygax and his mate Dave Arneson invented and released the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons that that role-playing games became worldwide famous.
For this reason, D & D is considered the first modern role-playing game and had a lot of influence on later role-playing games.

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All the games are based on math, there’s not  sport match without a score or  a dice without numbers.

Board and card games need math and players have to do different calculations during a game.

For this reason math games can be, especially for children, a great Mathematics Teaching Method.

Every educator knows how difficult is teaching math to kids, and how many times he have to repeat the same concept before all the students understand it.

Using board games, like the one in the video below, is a nice trick to make some difficult mathematics  principles easier to understand.

Arithmetic, geometry, algebra, there are different games for each subject to keep the mind of the kids focused on the lesson topic.  Fun and math are really distant concepts in our minds because of the way we have been educated, what if we can make math lessons funny for the kids instead of boring?

When children  have  fun, they are more open to learn difficult math calculations, on the contrary when kids become bored they tend to lose their attention.

Math games can be the answer to this fundamental teaching problem and a very useful educational tool for kids of all ages.

The video below shows how kids can practice money values with a nice and funnyboard game.

Math is boring because sometimes kids find it hard, but math should not be a problem for any child and this is the reason why games can make math easier to understand.

Every child will love math if he enjoys the lessons!

more math games

fun math games

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The essential components for a good education are reading, writing and basic computational skills.
Among these three reading is considered the most important. It’s necessary to use creativity and patience to teach reading to children.
Nowadays, with internet and others media invading our lives, the pleasure of reading a book seems lost. However, present and past studies show the importance that reading has in student success rates and also prove that forcing children to read yields poor results.
A new approach to this problem is needed to find a new and more effective method of teaching reading.
When you teach child reading, you should use variety of methods and resources for a well-rounded education.
Some educators obtained great results using educational games :
A lot of methods of teaching reading includes reading games and clever gaming situations to help children memorize letters and familiarize with the language.
Kids learn more when they enjoy the educational experience, that’s why reading games are really effective to improve their  skills.
For a kid, a boring standard lesson can’t be catchy as playing a reading game, and this is the reason why fun learning is more effective and interesting than old teaching methods.
Also the contribute of the family is important , but the teacher’s methods are crucial to create an overall educational experience.
The video below shows how reading games for kids can be used; a specific game could provide oral reading, another one could teach how to share the contents with the group, another one could involve the class into a recital.
The “Crazy Professor” video shows a game based reading seminar adopted by many American schools to develop reading comprehension among their young students.
This a clear evidence of how educational games can help children to learn the language and enjoy their reading lessons.

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game-theoryGames theory is a disciple that studies the problem of the interdependence between the players of the same game.
The behaviour analysis of game players is called strategic interaction and is used in Business studies to understand complex aspects of some kinds of markets and to build descriptive models based on subjects’ behaviours in uncertain situations.
For example, the famous “prisoner’s dilemma” is one of the main problems in game theory and is used to explain the reasons of a certain player’s choice rather than another one.
Originally developed by Merrill Flood e Melvin Dresher, the prisoner’s dilemma is based on the following riddle:

Two men are arrested by the cops, but they don’t have sufficient evidence to incriminate them:
for this reason, the cops decide to lock the two prisoners in different rooms and visit them separately to make a deal.

  1. If one of them testifies (defects) against the other he will obtain the liberty and his crime partner will be sentenced to 10 year in jail.
  2. If both remain silent, the will convicted to six months jail sentence.
  3. If each betrays the other both of them will receive a five year jail sentence.

So prisoners have to choose if betray the other or remain silent with the reassurance that nobody will ever know that he betrayed his partner before the end of the trial.
Now the fundamental question is: how should the prisoners act?
The game theory explains this dilemma with the help of Pareto optimality, a concept developed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who studied the economic efficiency.
The best choice for both the prisoners is to play in accord with the dominant strategy and confess their crime.  This is the only way to contain the damages and the risks of be betrayed first by the other, minimizing the risk of a 10years jail sentences.
This interesting slide is a good introduction to the game theory study.

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clever-games

Games are very important during the child’s growth, and for this reason is very important promote clever gaming activities to our kids. On a social level, children start to develop their gaming activities in three different stages:

  1. Individual games; is typical of new born babies  and it doesn’t involve any social interaction;
  2. Collateral games, children between 1 and three years start to find the firsts gaming interactions with their contemporaries, but the game still remains individual;
  3. Group games, children between four and five years start to develop more complex interactions during the gaming activities and the gaming group became a micro-universe in which children start to experiment the firsts social relations and to understand group dynamics functioning.

Besides, children’s gaming activities are important for the evolutionary development of the child for these two main reasons:

  1. With  the gaming activities, children start to discover the external reality, the unknown world that is still out of his reach;
  2. Gaming activities help children to be in control of their internal word made of passions, instincts, and to find the perfect balance between this world and the external one.

With clever games children can discover, understand, know new things, manage their needs and follow their interests.
Children need positive experiences, harmony and love: gaming activities can favourite all those important emotions.
These are alle the important reasons  why gaming activities are considered not only as the best way for children to develop their emotions and feelings, but also as  the best  knowledge tools to discover the unknown world.

Clever Games for Clever People

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