Interactive games and models are a powerful tool, which can be used for various purposes, not limited to the realms of pleasure, recreation and leisure. Active or kinaesthetic learning using interactive models and games is an immediate, engaging and effective teaching method. It is also a very practical method as it teaches transferrable skills that will become relevant to working life. Therefore, using interactive games and models to help children to learn is a teaching method with much potential.
What do interactive games and models offer?
As we all know, there is only so much that textbooks can teach and besides, most children dislike this kind of monotonous learning method anyway. Whereas a large majority of children actively enjoy playing games and this fact is definitely not something to be discouraged. Games actually teach children a variety of transferrable skills such as hand eye coordination, teamwork, communication, problem solving, creativity, puzzles and problem solving, cognition and critical thinking. This is a very long list which is by no means exhaustive. Additionally, games provide children with a sense of achievement, which can increase their confidence and self-esteem. This is especially important for children who underachieve in school.
Because games are multi-sensory, they also provide a more accessible teaching method than reading or listening to a teacher talk. This is especially useful for children who need a higher level of stimulation, such as those with ADHD or autism. In particular, interactive models such as flight simulators provide an immersive learning experience that children can get fully involved in, reducing the likelihood of inattention and distraction.
What else can we do with games?
Games can also be used as a reward for children in schools, but one which still teaches them facts or skills. For example, you could tell a child that if they finish their task then they can have a ten minute break to play a relevant game. Therefore, the pupil will be motivated to complete their work so they can play on the game. Additionally, they will end up learning during their break accidentally, while enjoying a treat. This is just one example of how we can use children’s interests in games to engage them in learning.
Gaming for fun?
But this is not to say games are only worthwhile in a strictly academic context. Games also allow children to play in a safe environment, whilst still enjoying a high level of stimulation. Indeed, online games in which young people play with others who live in various locations around the world are particularly valuable. Online communication such as instant messaging and video calling, using software such as Skype has become an integral aspect of society, in both the personal and professional spheres. Therefore, the sooner children become accustomed to these technologies the better. Online gaming is nothing to be afraid of, provided you teach your child basic internet safety.
Technology is an integral aspect of modern society so it’s not only important to integrate it into education for this reason but also because it’s quite simply a great resource with a lot of potential. Children genuinely enjoy this method of learning so it would be silly not to take advantage of this level of engagement. From personal experience I can verify that space games helped me learn, remember and even enjoy times tables a lot better than any teacher or textbook ever could.