DiscoverParenting & Families

Playing video games to learn

By Jan Kop

Worth reading 😎

A mix of timely and relatively timeless counsel concerning the importance and complexity of educational gaming for children.

Synopsis

Have you always been thought about the use and dosage of video games for your children? Then this book is for you!
Written specifically for parents and teachers who need help in the confusing world of games all kids have to deal with today, this book answers the following questions:

-Should I use video games for my kids to enhance their skills?
-What kind of devices are useful for what age?
-What type of video games for learning for children exist?
-Which games are useful for my children with their specific age?
-What educational gaming content or learning games exist in the market?
-What do I need to watch for if my children play electronic games?
-What potential and dangers exist when playing computer games?
-What is the status of scientific research in regards to educational gaming?
-What is missing on the educational gaming market?
-What games exist which I can use today?

This book is for all parents or teachers, who want to get specific suggestions for kids of every age. It gives insides into the world of educational gaming from the scientific perspective as well as from the practical side.

Since my own childhood I have been playing video games fairly avidly and the same is true for many people I know, both young as well as middle aged. The subject of video games as it relates to children (and adults) is full of a great deal of controversy and the author, while clearly in favor of certain video gaming for young people, is willing to engage various aspects that have drawn controversy. That said, there are clearly going to be quite a few readers who are both more loose and more strict than the author is, and he makes a point of not trying to micromanage the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are using games in a way that is permitted to them. It should be noted as well that those parents who object to the use of magic in games or who do not want their children to grow up to be little hackers will also want to be picky about which recommended games to allow and encourage for children.  


This particular book is divided into two parts and fifteen chapteres. The first part of the book consists of an introduction (1), a discussion of contemporary gadgets (2), some notes on the internet (3), and the status of scientific research on gaming (4). The second part of the book encourages gaming for a variety of reasons (5), talks about the role of parents in game-based learning (6), evaluating gaming content (7), a parent's guide to educational gaming (8), educational games for preschoolers (9), young kids (10), tweens (11), and teenagers (12), as well as an encouragement in learning programming skills for kids (13), gamification strategies to increase the motivation to learn (14), and getting everything together (15). While I read the ebook version of this particular book, the paperback is a bit more than 150 pages, about 50 of which are spent giving specific discussions and recommendations concerning a wide variety of games, focused especially on games that help students in STEM subjects.


In this particular book we have a mixture of information which is likely to become very obsolete very quickly and that which has a good and lasting value. The author's discussion about gaming systems and recommendations on specific games, whether they are cell phone apps or browser games or (more rarely) console games, are likely not to be very lasting at all given the rate of change within the world of gaming. On the other hand, the author's discussion of the scientific research as well as the importance of gamification when it comes to learning (as used by Khan Academy, for example) is an example of much more timeless and lasting material. I am uncertain of how often the author is going to wish to revise his material, as it may be necessary to have an annual (if not more frequent) update on what educational gaming apps are still available and which ones are new. This may be best served online if the author is willing to host or encourage such a dynamic list, which would greatly increase the value of this book over the long haul, unless the author wishes to write a lot of updated editions to this book as technology and the educational games available change. For the moment, though, this book is certainly well worth reading and should prompt some thinking about parents when it comes to video- and educational games as far as their children are concerned.

Reviewed by

I read a wide variety of books, usually reviewing three a day, from diverse sources, including indie presses and self-publishing, and I enjoy talking about unfamiliar authors and introducing them to my blog audience.

Synopsis

Have you always been thought about the use and dosage of video games for your children? Then this book is for you!
Written specifically for parents and teachers who need help in the confusing world of games all kids have to deal with today, this book answers the following questions:

-Should I use video games for my kids to enhance their skills?
-What kind of devices are useful for what age?
-What type of video games for learning for children exist?
-Which games are useful for my children with their specific age?
-What educational gaming content or learning games exist in the market?
-What do I need to watch for if my children play electronic games?
-What potential and dangers exist when playing computer games?
-What is the status of scientific research in regards to educational gaming?
-What is missing on the educational gaming market?
-What games exist which I can use today?

This book is for all parents or teachers, who want to get specific suggestions for kids of every age. It gives insides into the world of educational gaming from the scientific perspective as well as from the practical side.

Introduction

Background       

Parenting has become one of the most neglected aspects of human life. It’s a trend that became palpable at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and its subsequent effects have never been as devastating. There are many reasons why this contagious disease of bad parenting has eaten deep into the flesh of society, but one of the largest causes is unpreparedness. It cannot be denied that many parents and teachers have made no attempt to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for parenting and teaching using the tools and method offered by modern technologies.  The result is often an ill-parented child regarding the useful handling of modern gadgets of information technology.

Parenting is the process of promoting and maintaining the overall growth of a child from infancy to adulthood. Good parenting – also and especially in the sense of the use of technological tools and toys-, therefore, involves employing effective measures in the upbringing of a child that result in a noticeable improvement in their physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. Bad parenting involves purposeful, or unintentional, utilization of a series of measures in a child’s upbringing that can gravely harm their all-round development.

Knowing and implementing the right measures to raise a child is no superficial task. It requires a lot of hard work, foresight, and sacrifice. Psychologists and researchers alike have observed and recorded the results: the failure to put in the much needed work in a child’s upbringing can form mild psychological disorders. For example, the child may develop the inability to make or keep friends and healthy relationships, or suffer from depression and low self-esteem. The availability of new technologies enhances this effect by offering easy distractions.  On the other hand, new technologies also offer opportunities to take the right measures.

A good parent understands themselves and their children, then uses that knowledge to create an effective regimen of activities that builds their children in character, intellect, and compassion – not by denying but especially by using modern technologies. But how can you acquire this knowledge? This book answers these (and many more) questions by providing education and recommendations that are handy in real life situations regarding the use of video games and gaming equipment with the focus on game-based learning

                                                    

Welcome to the 21st Century

The 21st century is witnessing a revolutionary expansion of the technology bubble creating new technological ideas on a regular basis. Routine tasks, such as sending and receiving postal letters to keep in touch with loved ones have become incredibly easier with our use of exceedingly complex – yet simply crafted – gadgets including smartphones, tablets and laptop devices. However, while these technological advancements have been welcomed , they have brought with them negatives, especially in the way they have affected the attitudes of children but also of parents. Studies[1-5] have shown that a staggering number of kids possess or have access to smartphones, and most of them are perpetually connected to social media platforms. It follows logic to assume that time spent on these devices is time not spent involved in other activities, such as reading and physical exercise.



Technology has had massive effects in the way children interact with their immediate environment and with other people around them in contrast to children of earlier generations. Although social media can be used for educational purposes, its overuse has been found to have a negative effect on childrens’ self-esteem and self-confidence, and their all-round personal development [6].

One of the most pronounced differences in the way children live today in industrial countries, as opposed to previous generations, is that they don’t get as much exercise. This is due mostly to the fact that technology (such as tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles) encourages them to be sedentary when they get home from school. And why would they when they have all the entertainment they need in the palm of their hands? As a result, fewer and fewer children go outside and play with other kids, and we’ve seen childhood obesity rates rise drastically over the past several decades. In 2012, the rate was 18%, which is 11% higher than it was in 1980[7]. The same study also states that more than 33% of all kids and youth were overweight or obese. While many schools and parents have put in measures to curb this trend by promoting organized exercise both during and after school, we still have a long way to go in helping children assume a more active lifestyle.

Another effect that technology has had on children is in the way they interact with other children. Children who spend more time on their devices have minimal time left to spend with their peers, and tend to find it more difficult to pick up on social cues and develop meaningful relationships. This can develop into a serious emotional problem as they grow and develop.

The aim of this book is not to rule out the many uses of technology altogether, but rather to serve as a guide to parents who want the best for their children by using technology the right way. Technology offers endless possibilities of positive usage in a child’s learning, and can prove indispensable in their upbringing if utilized correctly.


THE 21st CENTURY PARENT

Every parent wants what’s best for their children. And to achieve this, they often implement strategies that help shape their children into successful adults while avoiding those that may result in maladaptive outcomes. As a parent in this digital age, you must understand that absolute control over your child’s development cannot be achieved or pursued nor is it useful. Instead, an approach of mutual understanding, between parent and child, must be employed to tackle the many setbacks to good parenting in this modern era. A way of achieving this mutual understanding is by recognizing your child’s needs at various stages of their growth and development and adjusting your attitude to suit their needs.

It’s safe to conclude that the parenting burdens on a 21st century parent supersede those that earlier generations parents bore. This conclusion is drawn from the facts and figures surrounding the behaviors and attitudes of contemporary children, due partly to the direct effects of modern society, economy, the advancements in the technology of the era and partly to the ever-increasing levels of ‘urbanization’ and ‘civilization’ brought about by same technological advancements. The environment is always changing, and as such, children’s attitudes are evolving; a result of which is an ever present need for parents to adjust their behavioral and parental patterns. Somewhat in the 20th century, for instance, a parent may have faced a challenge of keeping their children indoors more, to prevent them from coming to harm in the process of playing with other children. In this era, in contrast, a parent would be worried about the time their children spend indoors glued to their smartphones or televisions.



Innovations in technology have made the arduous task of parenting even more labor demanding. More than ever, children spending too much time on digital technology is considered injurious to their mental, physical, emotional and intellectual health. Children and adults are becoming increasingly timid and short of confidence due to over-indulgence in social media. All of these negative effects are happening in an era when parents are saddled with the responsibility of combining child upbringing and day-to-day-work.The roles and responsibilities of parents towards their children in the modern era are more complex, and there’s no quick fix for the uphill task. However, there are certain guidelines and recommendations that, if adhered to, may bring about positive outcomes in the upbringing of your kids. “Parents are not born, they are made.” The role of this book is to outline the unique challenges modern era parents face in the course of parenting throughout digital gaming content, and present guidelines and recommendations to help surmount them

About the author

Jan was born in Berlin, Germany. He began his career in the area of educating children and creative jobs in the film business. For the last 20 years, he is involved in research and development in the field of technology, and works as author, auditor, consultant and trainer. view profile

Published on March 04, 2019

40000 words

Genre: Parenting & Families

Reviewed by

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