During out ICT session today, we had a range of different ICT resources available for us to try out different games and consider how we could use this for children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 Settings.
We had a wide range avialable for us to try, including:
- Xbox – Kinect
- Nintendo DS
- Computers – Internet
There are a range of reasons why these sort games could be beneficial in a setting like this, firstly it can build the confidence and self esteem of a child, especially if they are particulary gifted at particular games. They can show off their skills to other members of the group and feel proud of what they are achieving.
Aother reason is that it can be used to motivate the children, for example during circle time if the children have all done well in the week, they can have a go on the Wii for example for the afternoon to have some time to relax, and this lets the children know that they will have a treat at the end of the week, it is something for them to look forward to.
Fine motor skills are also developed in many of the games, whether it is using the keyboard and the mouse on the computers or pressing the buttons on the remotes. As well as these, gross motor skills are also developed on some of the games, for example playing tennis on the Wii or playing the drums on the Rock Band games.
Particular games are good for developing paticular skills, for example Maths Training on the Nintendo DS is a really good game, because children can either play on their own or against a friend, and there is also a range of levels for them to choose from, with every times table available to practise, along with short addition to long multiplication.
Playing these sort of games can also help children with life skills, as ICT is developing rapidly in the world, and in the future when the children I teach become adults, they may need computer skills to gain jobs in specific areas, and by encouraging them at this stage, I can teach them the basics of ICT.
Finally, it can really help children with their social development, as children who may not like speaking out in a class for example, may get involved more whilst playing this sort of game in a group. It also teaches them team work as well as competition, but at the same time about following the rules and taking it in turns.
Further Research and Reading:
I found a few good websites which children can use to play games. A few examples of these are:
Octonauts – This is a game on the CBeebies website, and this helps children learn about taking care of animals, and the places where animals live and the kind of things they eat.
Alphablocks – This is also a game on CBeebies, where children can learn about the different letters of the alphabet and their sounds.
BBC – Early Years – This has a range of links for different educational games for the different areas of development.
CrickWeb – This has a range of online games to play, and they have sections from Early Years all the way up to Key Stage 2.
ICT Games – This website is set out into maths, literacy and topic work with games to help with each.
As well as these websites for children, i also found an interesting article about the use of gaming in education. Can Gaming Help Kids Learn? This website talks about the bad press gaming gets, for example saying it turns children into vegetables. However, this site suggests that gaming can be extremely useful in helping children to learn, helping the children to remember information as well as taking an active role in engaging with the topics.
It also suggests that there is science behind why gaming works so well, because the electronic games actually stimulate the brain to release dopamine which helps with cognition.
Overall, the website talks about electronic games helping children to maintain an active role with their own learning, as well as exploring and experimenting on their own. There is also an infographic which is really interesting all about using games in the classroom.