Learning in the 21st Century
Technology is taking the world of education by storm. Statistics demonstrate that the internet has revolutionized collegiate academia. As much as 60% of college students have used digital textbooks which are expected to occupy 25% of the total textbook market over the next 10 years. About 20% of students use mobile apps to organize their coursework, and more than half say they would like to improve learning with their mobile devices.
The phenomenon certainly isn’t limited to post-secondary education, however. Internet based learning has also extended to the early childhood level. Learning websites for children include educational games, and as many as 43% of teachers in the U.S. use them in the classroom. Though there is no shortage of preschool learning websites with kids free learning games, many parents are still skeptical. After all, if kids are playing, can they really be learning?
Still Not Convinced?
Preschool learning websites and fun games can’t replace teachers. That’s true. However, they can let students experiment with learning, motivate the unmotivated student, and help kids practice critical thinking and problem solving. Though they’re fun and engaging, the real selling points are much more involved.
- Kids learn best when they feel successful, and games allow them to watch their own progress. Games tend to break learning concepts down into small, manageable units, allowing players to feel successful as they continue mastering concepts and moving on.
- Instant feedback is critical to effective learning, but teachers are often unable to provide it all the time. Games let kids know what they need to work on and allow them to keep trying and practicing.
- Games provide engagement. Many students are what we call “kinesthetic” learners, meaning that they learn best when they’re allowed to physically interact with the subject matter. Games allow these types of learners to break up a day of verbal or auditory learning with a style that better fits them.
- Imaginative, make-believe experiences are important for kids, and games allow them to have those experiences in safe and structured ways. They can experiment, make decisions, and see the effects of their decisions, making the abstract much more tangible.
What Does A Quality Game Look Like?
The best preschool learning websites know how to design games that are consistent with educational psychological principles. Look for games that do the following things in order to help your preschooler learn best:
- Create competition. The desire to improve and win is a big motivator, and kids love to compete against friends, family, other students, or even the computer itself. The best games use timed races, high scores, and leaderboards to motivate and foster improvement.
- Allow progress. Games that let kids level up, gain points or experience, add abilities, or earn currency get kids hooked and engaged, encouraging them to keep practicing and learning.
- Foster creativity. Kids love customizing their characters and avatars, and it makes them feel more connected to their games. It’s much easier to convince a child to play a game if he or she has some level of control over the character’s appearance.
- Reward success. Incentives for performance are very effective for keeping kids interested. Games that let players unlock new characters, levels, costumes, or even whole new games when they do well on educational content are well-loved and frequently played. The best games provide clear and achievable goals and then reward players when they achieve them.
Games are excellent for engaging students in the learning process. Involve yourself in your child’s learning by helping them find and play high-quality games on free early learning websites. They’ll have fun, practice concepts, and feel good about themselves. It’s a win all around!