Games for your mind

Posts Tagged ‘School

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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kids-chess1Germany,

This summer instead of going on holidays, a group of researchers from the University of Trier in Rhineland-Palatinate, studied the experimental introduction of chess in elementary school for the new academic year.

The results show that 6 years old children that have begun to learn how to playchess learn more easly not only math but also German grammar.

In other words researchers proved that children who play chess are doing better during all the years of the primary school.

For this reason chess are now considered as an established educational method in Germany’s  primary schools.

Chess help children develop logic and represents a great workout for their brain; chess can also useful to facilitate the integration of foreign scholars (more than eight million students in Germany are immigrants or children of immigrants).

This new method of using chess to improve students’ performances in traditional disciplines like grammar and math is now used in all the primary schools of the Germany.

The biggest problems for the teachers was when children learned how to play chess and started to beat them.  We must say that this  a clear evidence of how the pupils can overcome their masters.

For this reason now teachers are assisted by regular chess players during the “chess hours”.

I don’t know if you live in Germany or not, the fact is that scientific evidences show that chess are a great educational game and can help children to develop not only math capabilities, but also grammar and literacy skills.

The video below shows World Chess Champion Susan Polgar playing chess vs. the young students of a German school.

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classic-board-gamesOnce upon a time families used to have fun playing classic board games, this was before the tv and the digital revolution where fun and games are always condensed into a screen.
Some of us seem really nostalgic for those happy days, when families had fun together sitting around a table and playing classic board games, because they’re ready to spend a lot of money for classic board game.

The board games market begun in the early 20th century along with the rise of the new middle class demand for family entertainment. Soon many games designed by the most creative minds of that period became the favourite pastime
for children and adults and nowadays some of them are considered like pieces of art.
For a rare classic board game of the Georgian period, with illustrations and board in good conditions, like the one in the picture below, collectors are ready to pay up to 500£.

vintage-board-game

old board game

Classic board games are so called because some of them are still popular nowadays despite their old age.
Monopoly, for example, was launched in the UK market in 1935 and sold 200 millions of sets since then. Classic board games like monopoly, risk, connect four and many others remain one of the best options for all those parents who want to involve their children in a fun and recreational activity for all the family, instead of leaving them always alone in front of a computer screen.

In this sense classic board games can build strong and deep family relations and bring harmony and fun in your house, while you can teach always something new to your son.

For this reason classic board games are timeless, because they’re one of the funniest way to teach children about rules, loyalty, honesty, challenge, logic, problem solving and many other skills.

A new level of enjoyment for all the family can be reached with classic board games.

There are so many models that everyone of us can find the right one:
Could be a strategy game, a brain teaser or just a parlour game, the important thing is classic board games can get families around a table and offer an alternative way to confront themselves and learn about life.
I think this is something remarkable and worth to play if we don’t want to miss the best years of our life with our children.

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baby_glutton-doll
WASHINGTON
Americans little girls learn how to be a mother too soon with the new Baby glutton, a doll that simulate the breast-feeding with sounds and mouth movements. This toy, produced by Berjuan, a spanish company, comes with a special bra for girls to make the playing mother experience as real as possible.
The doll as special sensors and cries like a real baby when he needs more milk and does the burp when it’s filled. In USA the baby glutton it’s object of controversy: in fact, a lot of parents organization deeply believe that this doll may  push the girls to become mothers too soon increasing the risks of teenage pregnancy.
“breastfeeding is a natural process” object Berjuan’s marketing experts and  the idea behind the doll is to promote it by showing  little girls how to do it. But many parents are concerned  that the baby glutton could be a bad toy for their young  girls and not an educational game to teach children motherhood skills.
Honestly I  don’t think that girls need to use a doll to know breastfeeding at this very young age, there’s time for that; it’s true that breastfeeding is a natural process, but it’s also true that this is a natural process of an adult woman that not belongs to childhood and puberty and shouldn’t belong to teenage like many concerned parents suggested.

babyglutton

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kandisky-gameWhen a parent is looking for a gift for his kid, he should find one of those clever games that will help him build his logical and creative mind.
Parent’s favourite choice in this sense has to be a life skill game such as an educational board game, a quiz game or a construction toy.
Kids love playing with construction and create new shapes with the same pieces and above of all they love playing a board game or a quiz game to learn unknown things.
All those kind of games have something in common: they help the kid to discover something new about himself and our society. When kids play these clever games, they start to use their capabilities and their knowledge to challenge the others in a competitive situation. This is the typical situation that everyone of us has experienced many times in his life;competition it’s the secret of the personal success, we compete for everything, a car park, a better job, or a faster car.
In this sense old fashion board games and educational toys are more modern and innovative than any kind of hi-tech toy because they can teach the essence of those deep and fundamental human relationship of our modern society that we call life skills.
These life lessons sometimes are more effective than many others teaching methods because kids love playing games more than attend boring lessons at school.
Education and games, it’s seems the perfect winning combination for an happy childhood.

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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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Aristotle-PlatoIn ancient Greece, board games where very popular, especially among the philosophers and their pupils. Plato once said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.
Hellenistic culture gave a lot of importance to games, ancient Greeks invented the Olympics and athletes were considered like heroes.
Philosopher used to teach their scholars using linguistic game and games simulations; philosophy itself was a form of game: to quote Plato once again Philosophy is “like playing an hard game”.
Like Dutch philosopher  J. Huizinga suggests In his book ”Homo ludens” all the stages and the development of philosophy manifest a recreational linguistic activity  in its deep essence: Philosophic rhetoric play  on words during the debates and the clash between the debaters assumed in public speeches the form of a win or lose game. Even in the written form, many ancient Greeks script are a sophistic game of question an answer.
Word games and speech competitions where a sort of recreational activity, used by Hellenic people to shape and rule their ancient society.The winners of those linguistic games where often famous philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, great politicians like Themistocles and genial playwrights like Aristophanes.

This fundamental role of playing activities in the Hellenistic culture is manifested also in the Mythology, like in the Myth of  Theseus and the Minotaur.
The Labyrinth and the Theseus myth seems like a perfect representation of a gaming scenario that today could be easily used to develop a videogame:labirint-game Theseus (the player) must overcome different stages in a labyrinth scenario to fight and defeat the final Minotaur monster.
The connection between this myth and gaming was so strong that ancient Greeks invented a board game version of this myth called “labyrinth”, a  game for two, three or four players.
Like in the original Myth, the gameboard represents the labyrinth of King Minos where the monster half men and half animal is trapped. The player acting as Theseus must save the youths Athenians  sent as tribute to King Minos who used them to feed the Minotaur.
Each player has 4 pawns, one for each youth Athenian, the first player to bear off all the pieces at the centre of the board is the winner because, like Theseus, he has saved all the youths Athenians from certain death.

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