Question

Suggestions for Educational Games?

I am looking for games for my son to play that are educational. He is 13 years old and gets his regular video game and tv time. He isn't keen on school (which is normal I suppose) but I saw him spout of some geography facts after playing Assassin's Creed. So I thought that there could be games just as entertaining but with an educational twist. Do you know of any? Help, please.

P.S. I found this How to Train your Dragon game that says it teaches science. Have any of you played it?Is it any good?

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Answer
Learning by accident while being entertained?

That's not a substitute for learning through desire and discovery. There are tons of games out there and they come and go as quickly as it takes one's wallet to empty and refill. Personally, I'd say that games which offer some educational benefits are like getting bonus points in one's learning endeavors but I'd never suggest buying games with the expectation that it might lead to a diploma.

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Not a replacement

I know what you mean. It is like bonus points isn't it? My hope is that he gets enough of a feeler that he wants to set off on his own and try learning or paying attention in class. Maybe I'm in danger of getting him more addicted to games? Do you have any suggestions?

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My suggestions would be to forget games

and focus on discovery. Discovery is, IMO, the best method to make sure what is learned is retained. That learning is also reinforced when a person can share what they've discovered. This means having friends of similar interest...other than gaming, of course. Clubs and special interest organizations that get out of the house and go places would be my suggestion. Put the game pad down, get away from the TV and go find the world outside. That's not what you want, I expect, but it's what I'd offer.

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Well Said

No, you're absolutely right. I learnt by going out and having a healthy curiosity about things. I suppose we do spoil our children a bit much these days. Your advice is really inspiring. I shall be on the lookout for clubs. It is okay if he throws a tantrum. It will be good for him in the long run. Your comment has given me an idea about weekend scavenger hunt type activities for him and his friends. Thanks a bunch!

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I agree with you

By limiting the amount of time spent on games, he'll find friends to socialize with and he will be able to try activities as reading, drawing, sport or other actions.

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Answer
Good things in life are free of charge

We found a couple of really fun engineering and programming-related games for our computer class. Not sure if they will suit your spoiled kid (spoiled by the visual quality of major titles like Assassin's Creed, no offense Happy, but we found them really useful. There are other categories as well, but most liken basic puzzle games, so if he's at all into that sort of thing, you may be in luck.

http://educative-games.org

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Thank you

Thank you so much for this. I know what you mean by spoiled. Will take a look at that website. He is into puzzle games which is great! And you're absolutely right about good things being free Wink Cheers!

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Maybe he has

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) . I had issues when I was a youngster in school, I had a hard time concentrating and staying focused on certain subjects ( most subjects really) and my parents thought I was lazy or just wasn't interested in my school work. I excelled in science and history but everything else really slipped by me and yet if I found a game I liked, like chess, or Battleship, I would be absorbed by it and become a very worthy advisary. Just something to think about...Digger

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I think a bigger problem is social awkwardness

It's not uncommon for young folks to feel that they don't fit in or that other kids are talking negatively about them. This makes them withdraw and do things alone. I was that way but later decided the problem was with myself and not with others. It's more a matter of finding one's niche and excepting that those you think you'd like to have as friends are not the ones meant to be your friends.

I could never advocate gaming but it might be better for those who engage in such as LAN parties rather than those who game on-line in the world of anonymity. What was said about "all work and no play" rings true now. A healthy social life is more important to learning than some might think.

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Social Awkwardness is

a big problem isn't it? This Dragons game I was talking about is a multiplayer one and I started him on it so he's socializing but online. He shies away from any other sort of interaction - but so was I when I was 13. But it could be a problem area to be worked on.

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Well then, isn't the metaphore of taking on dragons

used to mean facing one's own fears? I don't see that multi-player on line gaming is doing that at all in regards to socialization. It's an avoidance method. I'm not a psychologist but a parent whose children are grown and gone on to live their own lives. I'll admit to always being wary of game play that permitted growing children to continue in a land of fantasy too long but you will need to make your own decisions. Buy the game if you wish. I suspect, by itself, it will be a short term aversion without lasting effect.

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For now it is

a free game online so financially, it isn't eating up resources. It seems to have a lot of Earth Science based tasks and bringing up a virtual pet (in this case, a dragon) and the responsibilities that come with it. So I'm happy that he chooses to play this instead of killing people on Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. But like you said, it is sort of escapism and there's no words to describe the value of real life interaction. How did you get your children to socialize?

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I can't answer your last question but what you could do

is evaluate the game yourself to see if the learning experience is worthwhile. It appear to have very limited use without becoming a member and sending away money. Why not do that for now. I can't know what's best for your son as far as stimulating any interest in learning. But I can tell you quite surely that a person's interest center, once stimulated, will try to blossom and the blossoms grow bigger and stronger when they can be shared. Think of the last time you were really excited about learning something new and tried to share that with a person who was totally disinterested. What a letdown...right? That's why having the right kind of friends are so important to learning. Sorry but I need to get off the podium now. Good luck to you.

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Thank you

That was well put. Thank you Steven!

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Scary

I know most parents don't want to hear that but it's definitely worth having a look into. You can't neglect something just cause you're scared of it.

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Answer
Games can be helpful

My brother and I was learning russian while playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R... Happy
Also I've heard that Minecraft was adopted for educational purposes in some schools... It's a wonderfull game that develops logic, creativity and communicational skills. You should definetely try it with your kid

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Thank you

Will look into minecraft being adapted to learn!

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Answer
My wife recommends this site
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Personally, I know nothing about it and I don't want this to look like spam. My wife works in a K-8 school as a technology coordinator and one of her jobs is to introduce kids of younger ages to educational software. She's also responsible for selecting apps for them to use. I see with this site you can filter by interest, software type, age, and more. I also see that the title you show interest in appears to be for ages 8-10. In any event, you can peruse reader's comments about the various offerings and maybe that will help you find a better direction than anyone here can offer. Good luck.
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Thanks Again

Steven. This looks like a great website!

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Answer
Sporcle

I recommend http://www.sporcle.com/
I showed it to some friends of mine, and one of their kids, early teen's at the time, said that it was now fun learning geography. Many quizzes and such, educational and entertaining.

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Fantastic

Thank you!

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