Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grandad On Educational Computer Games

My older grandkids (ages seven and eight) enjoy and are very successful playing puzzle-based computer games. These nonviolent games emphasize solving puzzles and problems in dynamic, interactive environments. Because most educators don’t see ‘school curriculum’ in such games, these games are dismissed and are not available to kids at school. Of course, these administrators and teachers have rarely played any of these games. And, the few times I have been able to entice one to play, they quickly become frustrated and quit. This is because school curriculum isn’t readily visible in either the control or goal of the game and they don’t know what to do, which is an uncomfortable situation. They don’t understand that it’s the problem-solving skills that are being exercised, not the student's knowledge of specific curriculum content. What are these problem-solving skills? Curiosity, understanding that you have to start some where if a beginning point isn't clearly defined, being comfortable with the fail, fail, fail, before you succeed characteristic of problem-solving, perseverance, and many others. But the most important outcome of playing these games is the personal sense of achievement experienced when a tough problem is solved.

13 comments:

  1. You make an interesting point about computer games and their use as an education tool. When computer were first put into schools they were used almost exclusively for educational games. What "educational" games would you recommend for young children?

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  2. To Anonymous:
    I will be reviewing computer games of the type mentioned in the above post on a regular basis. If you would like to get started now, go to www.steampowered.com, and click on the Get Steam Now - Free Download button. Install (with an account name and password) and you can now go to the store and download demos of the games I will now describe.
    My grandkids really enjoy the vocabulary building and colorful puzzles in Amazing Adventures: The Lost Tomb and Escape from Rosecliff Island. Search on the names and download each demo. One of my favorite "Ollie, now what do I do?" games is Full Pipe. The graphics and characters are great and the puzzles challenging. My grandkids are second and first graders and need little help on the first two games mentioned above but require shorter sessions and help on Full Pipe. If you like any of these games you can buy them and download them to your computer in minutes. I have had Steam for over two years and prefer to buy all of my games, if possible, on Steam. Grandad Science

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