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On Playing Computer Games for Education

February 10, 2013 10:19 pm Leave your thoughts
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I think getting kids to play PC games are on of the best education tools (keeping in mind the age ratings of course). Note that I’m talking about PC not the general console games as they are pretty much plug and play. The idea is to get them curious with the inner working of the computer. A lot of people just doesn’t understand this, but being a person who started playing computer games since he was 7, I can explain perfectly. It’s not a waste of time but at many times actually both educational and fun.

The Specs and Understanding PC Parts

Example of specs

To illustrate my point, let’s have  a look at an example of system requirement listing to play a game. In this case to play FEAR 2 (Yes old games and not really for 10 years olds, but just to illustrate my point ;).), you will need at least 4.3ghz Pentium 4 and 1 GB of RAM. Now, the worst that can happen if a player doesn’t get the system right, would be choppy gameplay or the game wouldn’t even run. From this point on, a child would:

  1. Asks his/her parents and friends how to get the game going.
  2. Research on the internet or magazine on how to get the game going.
  3. Learn something new about system specification.

The newer the game, the less likely it will run on our current machine, therefore would lead to the above scenario. I think this is all good, children get to learn and get to buy new gadgets :). Ok, the only downside for the parents would be shelling out some cash for the new parts.

I suppose the only thing to keep in mind is to make sure the kids get to choose the specs, so when they have responsibility if anything isn’t working.

Tweaking

The other thing that will happen is that before asking for a new hardware, the the child will tweak the computer as much in order to get the game working,  especially if the machine is quite new.  This will lead to understanding things like virtual memory,  cache clean up,  disk compression and any other techniques to gain more computing resources to play the game.

peter-pan-a-story-painting-adventureI still remember in the old days what I had to do to get Peter Pan working on my brand new 486 dx2. I had 4mb of RAM which was quite a lot or back then but I couldn’t get the game running, it kept saying not enough memory. That was when I found out that there wasn’t enough conventional memory free to start the game in my current configuration (books and friends were very handy, we got wikipedia these days) . Therefore at the time I had to use a utility called QEMM or the less superior memmaker to free up the memory and I was able to play the game.

The Game Itself

OK, this one is more subjective. I’m just gonna share this based on my experiences. Depending which games the parents choose for the children, the experience can be fun and educational. I remember playing a lot of educational games, they were pretty good and fun. They helped me understand language, mathematics and other things like simple physics and chemistry as well as logic.

ded_wallpaper1I don’t believe there are as much educational games these days,  but if we look we will surely find some good ones. One such example would be the Nancy Drew series which should be good for language and logic. These kind of games encourages children to think to get a solution instead of just point and shoot.

Closing

To conclude, PC games are great for education. It will stimulate their creativity and curiosity, driving them to understand more about PC hardware and software. Furthermore, when chose correctly, the game itself will train the player’s logic, language and understanding of various science knowledge.

So let the kids play PC Games as oppose to just giving them consoles straight away. PC games educates and entertains, console games will only entertain.

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