The Educational Gaming Blog

The Educational Gaming blog is your place for the latest in updated children's educational gaming news from around the web and across all platforms. Be sure to catch the latest news about educational games coming out on the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation portable, Computer and Wiiware. We will also bring you educational app reviews from the worlds of Android and iOS apps. Check back often to keep informed on newest technologies and insights from around the industry!

Your Baby will enjoy this set of 16 ultra soft building blocks that are super smooth to the touch. The blocks have doors and windows that open to reveal smiling characters inside of them and will keep your baby entertained for hours. The blocks will also keep older babies interested with their colorful graphics and different textures. The blocks are well constructed and will give your baby hours of peek-a-boo fun.

 

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Your baby can choose from 16 different soft building blocks

 

 

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Very light and easy to stack

 

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All of the blocks are covered with super soft satin


You can purchase your baby their own Knock-Knock Blocks on Amazon.com

Ranger Rick offers a unique educational magazine for the ipad that is unlike any other. Kids can play games, read comics, collect badges and much more. The app has limited free beneifts but can be fully unlocked for $4.99. Ranger Rick and his friends will surely have your kids educationally entertained for many hours and months to come.

 

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Autism Speaks has gathered together a  large colllection of apps for the autistic community that are both free and paid. You will be able to find some quailty educational apps for your Autistic child no matter what his/her skill level. 

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Incorporating educational video games into the classroom

 

The current generation of students has grown up in an environment where technology and the Internet is a normal and essential part of life. To effectively engage students, schools and educators need to maximize the use of technology. There is some research that suggests that students are more likely to interact with a video game than with the teacher or other students. Students are also far less likely to learn from the traditional lecture model, one-way communication that teaches by rote and involves only one sensory input. The current generation of students in the classroom learn very differentially than their parents did.

 


Some researchers suggest that educational video games may well represent the learning environment of the future, and a great deal of research is being conducted to identify how this can be best accomplished. Students who have grown up playing video games are accustomed to dynamic sensory experiences in which they are challenged and engaged in ways that provide deep gratification. Conventional schoolwork holds little attraction in comparison. The vast majority have been using computers from the time they were toddlers and could wrap their small hands around the mouse. Unfortunately, in many respects the educational system has not kept pace with technology.

 

Games can be an extremely important tool to help students learn, not only because of technological familiarity, but also because educational video games utilize many of the core mechanisms that promote learning. These include:

 

1. Motivation. The ideal learning condition motivates learners. If a student finds an activity meaningful and personally rewarding, they are willing to devote whatever time and effort might be required to achieve an objective. When learning by means of a video game, students are enjoying the activity and achieving personal satisfaction in the process. They are learning without even realizing it.

 

2. Customized learning. Learning is optimized when individual learning needs and styles are taken into account. Video games make this easy to do. Students choose the game that interests them, and play it on their preferred system, whether an iPad or a PC or a PS3. They are in control of their learning and it fits their personal style.

 

3. Immediate feedback. When a student is able to receive immediate feedback on a concept, it optimizes learning and helps avoid uncertainty and gaps in understanding. Students are accustomed to communicating through instant messages and email, and they expect immediate feedback. Video games are highly interactive and provide immediate feedback as to whether the player has made the correct decision.

 

4. Multisensory. An environment that stimulates multiple senses and promotes active discovery makes it easier to acquire and retain new knowledge. Learning is maximized when there is a tactile, visual, or auditory input to augment the experience. Modern gaming systems, like Xbox360 and Wii, allow a wide range of sensory input, including movement. This enhances learning, memory, and retention. It also makes video games particularly useful for students with learning disabilities or other physical limitations that may hamper learning by traditional methods.

 

5. Learn by doing. The hands-on approach, where students actually get to test a concept in a real-world situation, is what cements learning and makes it relevant. Video games place all the learning within the control of the student and make it completely applicable to everyday life.

 

6. Interaction. Students learn by interacting with others. In addition to the PC, many video gaming systems, such as PlayStation3 and Xbox360, are now designed for multiplayer capability, including web-based applications. The learning interaction can also be virtual.

 

Video games align with every learning enhancement concept and fit every learning theory, and are therefore the perfect learning augmentation tool. There are other ways video games can be used. Jeopardy-style games introduce a spirit of competition into learning concepts, helping with student motivation. The notion of virtual learning communities is also made possible with video games. Students can discuss mutual interests and develop social relationships through which learning is enhanced. They connect to other learners who may represent a range of age groups, providing even greater learning opportunities.

 

Video games with the capability of creating simulated new worlds in which players can become immersed represent another untapped learning potential. Among younger children, the Jumpstart series has successfully advanced learning through video game play, including the online simulated world experience. Children can access this virtual world with their PC, and take their character through multiple worlds where they learn geography, advanced science and math concepts, improved reading and spelling, music and art - all in an environment that promotes learning far more successfully than the traditional classroom.

 

These same techniques can be equally effective for students at all levels. Just as children learn how to populate a farm or city and care for simulated people, emergency workers can follow simulated emergency procedures and organize disaster relief in a simulated city. Medical students can use a nanobot to simulate the role of a white blood cell traveling the human body, in order to understand the immune system. Sociology students can study group behavior by playing an online jungle survival game with other players. Army combat missions can be tested and rehearsed every step of the way. As video games become more and more sophisticated, with more realistic graphics, the potential for learning applications increases.

 

Let's not forget the role of entertainment, either. This may well be the most important reason to use educational video games in the classroom. Good teachers have always known that they must get the attention of their students before they can teach them anything. The 1960s movie To Sir With Love built on that concept. A teacher with a dysfunctional, rebellious, and highly resistant group who were so caught up in dealing with life's issues that they had no time for learning, was able to break through to them because he got their attention. Video games are the most natural way to achieve a similar result, particularly when dealing with a generation that has been weaned on such games. Create an interesting and entertaining learning environment and catch the ear and mind of the students. Then you can start to teach.

 

Educators who want to engage students and enhance classroom learning should be looking at ways to incorporate video games into the classroom, using every possible platform: Wii, Nintendo, Xbox 360, PC, PS3. Rather than looking at video games as nothing more than entertainment, or perhaps even an undesirable distraction, educators need to look at how video games can be embraced as an essential part of the educational system. Students in today's classrooms have been spending a significant amount of time playing video games from a very young age. They are more likely to engage and be willing to be taught if educators reach out to them with something that is both familiar and enjoyable.

 

References:

 

Serious Games: Incorporating Video Games in the Classroom.http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/SeriousGamesIncorporatingVideo/157412

 

Play to Win! Using Games in library Instruction to Enhance Student Learning.http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ744968&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ744968

 

Video Games in the Classroom? http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/gov-social-media-and-learning-video-games-in-the-classroom.html

 

Playing to Learn: Video Games in the Classroom. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=5063661&page=1#.T6Xfy1KtySo

 

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Many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are attracted to video and computer games. In a number of studies, educational video games have been found effective in helping children with autism in several developmental areas. Children with autism have difficulty with facial recognition and nonverbal communication, which is thought to contribute to problems with development of complex social skills. Video games that enhance perceptual discrimination have potential in helping with memory and facial discrimination. Learning difficulties are also common with autism, and studies have demonstrated that video game play is linked to improvement in learning and in the ability to focus. Improvements are also seen in social interaction and communication, and in learning to strategize and reason. Autistic children who have difficulty communicating or expressing themselves often can learn non-verbally through music and art in video games.


 While little progress has been made in developing video games specifically targeted towards autistic children, there are many excellent computer games and video games that can help autistic children learn. Educational topics can range from basic letters, numbers, shapes and sounds, to more advanced social skills and decision-making. Regardless of which games you choose, the most important thing is to start as early as possible. The earlier autistic children are able to experience supported learning, the better the outcome.

 

Choosing a System

 

Educational games for autistic children can be played on a range of platforms in addition to the computer: Xbox 360, PSVita, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS. Which platform is chosen depends to a large degree on individual needs and personal preference.

 

 Some autistic children have fine motor control difficulties, so they may have less success playing a game on handheld systems like Nintendo DS or PSVita. Other autistic children love the sense of control offered by a handheld device. Some autistic children will find the Nintendo Wii controller more intuitive and easier to manipulate than the traditional Xbox 360 controller. Systems that allow movement might work better for some children. Games that rely heavily on visuals can be very effective for many children with autism, so the advanced graphics of the Nintendo 3DS might be more appealing.

Variety of game choices available for the different systems may be an aspect that parents want to consider as well. If you are looking to target learning of social skills, for example, you may want a system that allows interactive online play, or games that are PC-based.

 

Choosing a Game

 

Which games are most effective depends on a number of factors. Video and computer games support learning for autistic children of all ages, but it is essential to take into account not just physical age, but emotional maturity and mental capacity. Personal preference is important, since the child needs to be interested and want to play the game. Choice of game also depends on the child's particular area of learning difficulty and the degree of disability. Trial and error is necessary: some games work, some don't. Each child with autism is unique, so which games work best to support learning will also be a unique choice.

 

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Most parents of an autistic child are in communication with autistic support groups and may have an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) for their child. Discussing game choices with the IEP team and asking other parents for recommendations are good ways to get some guidance on which games to try. When you find something that works, spread the word.

 

 In choosing the best video or computer games for your autistic child, you want to consider:

* age, both physical and mental

* developmental level

* the child's interests

* attention span

* specific learning goals

* desired social skills

* availability of others to interact with

* your child's unique overall needs

 

Some Things to Avoid

 

Although the goal of having your autistic child play video games may be an educational one, it is important that they have fun, too. Regulating the amount of time spent in game play is also necessary. Regardless of how educational it may be, every child needs limits placed on how long they are allowed to spend each day with the Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii. Make sure you choose games that are age-appropriate, and it goes without saying that violence levels need to be monitored. Sensory overload is a problem for many autistic children, so the game's sound and visual stimuli should be watched for potential problems. In short, parents need to be supervising and remain involved and aware of how their child is responding to the video game if it is to be an effective learning tool. Know when it is time to turn the game off, and enforce the rules.

 

Top 10 Games

 

Here are some recommended starting places for educational video games that will help your autistic child learn. These games are in random order and might not be benneficial to all Autistic children.

 

1. Reader Rabbit series -  Available for the Nintendo Wii gaming system, Reader Rabbit has been teaching children basic reading, math, comprehension and problem solving for more than 20 years. It comes in a range of levels from preschool to early grades.

2. Jump Start series - Available for PC and all gaming systems. This series has a number of different modules for all levels from preschool up, with different learning targets: spelling, reading, math, music, art, and more.

3. Big Brain Academy for Wii -  A game with puzzles that help develop memory, identification, and visualization abilities. Up to eight players can participate, and social skills are encouraged.

4. Magic School Bus for DS -  The game uses bright graphics to teach basic letters and automatically adjusts skill level.

5. Let's Draw for DS - Players can draw anything they like and then animate the picture.

6. Little Big Planet, for Playstation platforms, PSVita -  This is a graphics-intensive problem solving game that has levels from preschool all the way up.

7. Rhythm Heaven Fever for Wii - A game for all ages that encourages development of rhythm.

8. Petz Fantasy 3D for Nintendo 3DS -  From kindergarten to all ages, a game that encourages social skills through caring for pets.

9. Dance Central/DanceMasters for Xbox 360 -  There are a number of games in this series, all encourage children to develop rhythmic movement and dance.

10. Autism/DTT Colors Full and Autism/DTT Shapes, for Android apps - These are games specifically designed for autistic children to teach colors and shapes, and to encourage better focus.

 

There are many, many other possibilities, and the above are simply suggestions. Games that are visually appealing, offer multiple levels of play that target all ages, and games that encourage creativity, art and music, are all good choices for video and computer games that will help your autistic child learn. With autism spectrum disorder affecting increasing numbers of children, research in this area is extremely important. Video and computer games are an effective educational tool for all children. In the case of autistic children, video games have great potential as a method to encourage and support learning.

 

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