As a special education teacher, I am always on the lookout for high quality educational games that will hold the interest of my students. My biggest problem is I have a wide range of developmental levels in my classroom. This makes it hard for me to shop around for games. Not only do I have to think about the kids this year but I also have to think about the kids in the future years.
Here is what I look for in games:
o Can the sound be easily turned on and off?
o Can the music be turned on and off separate from the sound?
o Can the brightness be adjusted?
o Can difficult be changed easily for different students?
o Can students pick up at level they completed?
o Are rewards given for completing levels?
o Are there incentives for advancing?
o Is the game single player or multiple players?
o How are the characters portrayed on the screen?
I want the games to be inviting for the students where the kids will want to play the games. The graphics and sound need to draw the children in and keep their attention without being to stimulating. This is why it is important that the music be able to turn off. Not all the children can handle the background music. Therefore, it must be able to easily turn off for some children while be readily available to stimulate other children without me having to figure out how to turn it back on.
iPhone/ iTouch Games for Education
At first, I had a little concern about my students using these handheld games for educational purposes. As I said before, I am a special education teacher and my students tend to be egocentric as it is. Giving them a handheld game, I was afraid would only thrust them deeper into their own world.
However, I discovered they became more vocal and picked up skills very quickly. They loved singing along with some of the songs and playing the games. Of course, it is too soon to tell if it translates into anything more, but they do make sounds and that is progress.
Online Educational Games
Online games will be your biggest resource whether you are a teacher or a parent. The Internet is full of free games you can play and games you can download for a small fee. The key to finding these games is to go and play a trial version first. On iTunes, the trials are normally called “Lite.” Other sites like PlayFirst, have 30-minute trial versions before you have to buy the full set. The catch is you have to sign up to the site. However, it is totally worth it to get to try out the game before you spend the money.
Finding educational games for the classroom or for your own house just takes a little bit of questioning. You have to ask yourself what it is you are trying to teach. Once you know what you want your kids to learn, the games will start popping out at you.