Thursday, August 16, 2012

The games sites as learning grounds

There are so many games out there now its hard to work out which ones will help and which ones do little except become compulsive. I use quite a few games when I teach and some of the sites I have shared with people when they have come to me.

As we are in the holiday season and we are getting to that point where, maybe they are running out of things to do, I have a few sites I would like to share with you, as well as some do's and don'ts regarding the games they get involved in.

I love maths games, anything where you have to think things through, develop strategies and accumulate knowledge about a place, a world or a wonderland of layers and extensions. In these sorts of games the children get the opportunity to utilise logic, progression, layering, postulation and conclusions. In fact they are given the opportunity to experiment, to use their spacial awareness and face consequences if it goes wrong. They learn by a series of trial and errors, using dexterity and ingenuity; if you are a lover of mathematics you will notice there are many words I have used here which refer directly to mathematical techniques, as well as scientific techniques of experimentation.

So what games am I eluding to here? Well, how about the games site;
This one has a wealth of games which will push many children to very high levels of skill and confidence no matter what age they are.
Although I use many of these with the 10 to 11 year bracket, I know there are many younger brothers and sisters, not wanting to be left out, having a quiet go at home. It also works well with adults too, and they are addictive is so far as you want to get to the end. Piggy Push is a classic for this, as is Frizzle Fraz 2; so frustrating and with this one none of us have as yet got past level 2 and the spiders. If its compulsive, why, I hear you say, do I like it? Because it gets the child over the tendancy to 'give up' in their school work when things get tough. They are forced in a most pleasurable way to think things through for themselves and get there. When they do they get that endorphine rush of success and then start to crave more of it. By getting this into their mind-set you are setting them up to be try-ers rather than wait-ers.

 This is a superb website, and is well worth book-marking for use whenever they wish. What I like about it even more is there is no interaction with other players so there is no chance of any grooming - any parent's greatest nightmare! Another wonderful aspect of this site is the learning angle which has so many useful tips on the fours rules of number, fractions and decimals. There are games which push these skills, some old and simple others newer and a bit more complex. For subtraction, try Subtraction Blaster; not easy I can tell you, but real fun even for us adults! For times table practise, then it has to be Crazy Taxi but beware, you'll get into it and the screams can be heard down the road!!!

The website has just launched a sister site called, Coolified which I am just starting to investigate and this one certainly takes the whole process to another level. The adventure games are a challenge and many of the pupils I have been working with all year and have plenty of knowledge are finding these great fun and quite a challenge. I am at present trying to get a pig along a 300 mile challenge and as yet haven't made it past 47 miles! Its those damn birds! The game is called, 300 mile to Pig Island, and has us all riveted. We are trying to work out how to get the puzzles going at the moment, anyway try it, its great fun. I have been told the game below it, Chibi Knights is also good but I've not tried that one yet.

So, I have waxed lyrical about that website, and its certainly one to go for during the holidays, how about others? I will give you those another day...... but for now, go away, play these, and let your children have great fun.

And what are the don'ts? Well, one of the main ones is stick to these sorts of games not the ones where they go off and compete against one another in globally attended battles. They are too young, and many of these gaming sites are very addictive. There have been many an article about the compulsive addiction it can cause, so avoid them.
And the biggest don't? Well, don't have too much fun, it can seriously create noise and laughter.

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