Fun education

Using video games for learning makes education fun!

Using video games for learning in the classroom and at home can be challenging at first, but it can motivate reluctant students in amazing ways. If you are a parent of kids these days, you know that graphic video games are on kids. Girls or guys, old and young, you’ve probably heard the plea that comes, terribly, close to crossing into unhealthy obsessive territory.

Unless you’re a superhuman kind of person, or have kids straight out of a 1950s sitcom, you’ve probably also stumbled upon perhaps the biggest barrier to education — boredom. An uncontrollable yawn and an ugly black hole that swallowed attention and stimulus like a pelvic pit. In my admittedly limited experience as a parent and school volunteer, I’ve found one thing and one thing that constantly blocks boredom: using video games to learn.

Yes: Use children’s love of video games to your advantage and banish boredom. My son doesn’t have much fun when I sit him down to do math with flash cards, but when he’s in front of the computer or video game console, learning is the greatest thing in the world.

Using video games to learn takes a little practice. The first time I tried to implement an educational video game session at my son’s school, discipline in the classroom quickly deteriorated. Honestly, I think they knew something was up; There was an undercurrent of excitement from the moment they got back from vacation. Can children smell high-quality plastic like dogs? Anyway, when Mrs. Holmes called for a group organized around classroom television, something along the lines of a game of rugby to get the best seats occurred.

Despite this initial setback, the students eventually settled in and have since learned to approach the use of video games for learning as another, albeit a particularly enjoyable, part of their education.

The format we’ve found to work best is to create a number of ‘stations’, dividing the kids into small groups (definitely dividing troublemakers – heavy as thieves, they are), with each group spending about fifteen minutes at each station. The key is to make as many stations as “authority-independent” as possible – the less time you spend explaining rules, breaking up fights, or answering silly questions from stations one through three, the more time you’ll have for some intense teacher (or teacher assistant) interaction with students. You will discover that using video games to learn makes students completely independent for those 15 minutes or so.

Perhaps the one strain that using video games to learn can create is also very common among younger students: no one wants to participate. Most classrooms are limited to televisions and computers. I was able to relieve some stress in my son’s classroom by donating a nice little CRT TV that wasn’t used much in my house. If you have any similar televisions that are rarely used, donating them (and anything else of value!) is a great way to help educate your offspring. If resources are limited in your child’s classroom, students will need to be motivated to participate.

Motivation can be as simple as asking students who are waiting their turn to use the console or computer to encourage their peers as they play. Or ask each student to analyze his “partner” to see if there are ways he or she can improve his or her score, and make an offer to compile this data in an end-of-the-week analysis. Perhaps the simplest solution would be to have them bring a book or a lesson with them to help distract them while they wait. Although you can always resort to taking away privileges, I’ve found that positive reinforcement is more powerful than negative.

Many educational games include “teacher only” modes that break down each student’s performance, which is an ideal tool for finding out which areas of study each student may need special help with. When using video games to learn, you may discover that some students do better in subjects they previously had little difficulty with; Often, it is not about the student’s intelligence or ability to understand the concept, but rather the way the concept is explained.

Making learning fun means that students will feel good about their education. Using a video game to learn It can turn trouble students into lifelong learners. Sometimes all it takes is a simple change like an educational video game to make them realize the value in education.

And as always: get involved in your child’s education. The world’s greatest teachers who use video games to learn cannot motivate a student whose parents do not show them the value of learning.

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