Should Students Learn A Musical Instrument Or Play Educational Video Games?

Do you think that educational video games could improve your child’s grades? Do you think that educational video games could teach your child “non-gaming” skills required to achieve success in life?

There is certainly a movement going on in the direction of implementing educational games into the classroom. For better or worse, it will be showing up to a classroom near you. I just don’t want you to get excited just yet.

In this article I will discuss a study done by the DimensionU Gaming Suite, which is becoming a very popular educational video game that schools are beginning to implement in their classrooms. I will then draw a comparison to another “supplemental activity,” which is learning a musical instrument in order to give you a perspective on how to improve your child’s education.

DimensionM is the Math video game of a larger gaming suite called DimensionU that covers other subjects such as Science and Reading. Below you will a read the summary of the study that DimensionU posts on their website.

Case Study: Pender County Study (UNC Wilmington)

Conducted in 2008, this study looks at the effects of DimensionM in the setting of a rural middle school of roughly 500 students, where only 63.1 percent of students were either at or above grade level on state-mandated End-of-Course testing for math.

  • Mean scores increased from 46% on the pre-test to 63% on the post-test
  • Male and female students demonstrated equitable gains

Not bad. The results are certainly encouraging, though after reading the in-depth report, (which I downloaded off their website), I was not as excited as I was when looking at the summary above.

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

My opinion is that the summary is very misleading. They make it sound like they did the study on 500 students. Look above again. Isn’t that how you interpret the first sentence of the study? In actuality, they did the study on 34 students as it states in the full report. Is it me, or is that a big difference? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being misled.

The truth is that out of 500 students in that particular middle school, only 63.1% of the students were at or above grade level in their end-of-year exams in Math. However, the gaming study was experimented on only 34 of the 500 students. In the full report, these 34 students were all below-average in Math.

Now, let’s look at the first bullet point of the study above. I don’t like the use of the word “mean.” The word sounds too scientific and covers up the real meaning of the point. Instead of “mean scores,” I would prefer “average scores” in this context. We’re not looking at any complex data here. It’s simply the average pre-test scores of the children before they began the “remediation course” or “gaming course” which I prefer to use.

It’s also important to point out that the students who participated in the study were below-average students with failing grades in Math. So certainly, there would be plenty of room for improvement by having an hour of “supplemental” activities every week for 7 weeks as the full report states. The results were that the average pre-test score went from 46% which is clearly a failing grade, to a 63% which is also a failing grade, though greatly improved.

The second bullet point is true and backed up in the report. Both boys and girls improved equally on average.

So What Else Is Wrong About This Study?

There are still some “unknowns” about this study and educational video games in general. One is, (and the full report acknowledges), that we still don’t know what the results would be of the games on standardized test scores. A second unanswered question is, How would the skills attained through educational gaming be useful in non-gaming situations? And thirdly, What are the cognitive processes used to employ these games and how can they be or could be applied to develop other academic and life skills?

I have one more big question about these games, since they claim to have an instructional component to them. DimensionM has an instructional section where students can go to in order to learn the material necessary to move on to the next level in the adventure. They must master the material to advance forward in the game.

I would like to know, if the game asks the exact same question in every level, so that the student can guess and use the process of elimination in order to move to the next level. If that’s the case, what are the students actually learning? They would just be memorizing answers if this is the case. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer because there is no information regarding this issue in the full report.

Is This An Attack On Educational Video Games?

If you’ve read this far, you may infer that I’m attacking DimensionM and other educational video games.

I am not attacking educational video games in general. I am personally in favor of some supplemental activity to improve test scores. Clearly, scores can improve with the implementation of this game. What I am attacking, is the misleading studies that put this game and others in a more favorable light than they should be.

I would like to know if this game would improve the already above-average students’ grades in Math. I would like to know if this game can only improve a failing students grades to barely passable levels, or can it make a good student “great.” I’m thinking about how our students can compete with rest of the world and not just trying to help the below-average ones.

What is the difference between two students that take the same exact class with the same teacher and one fails and the other gets an A? Is it about the parents and the home environment, or something neurological or chemical? Can gaming solve all of these problems?

A New Interactive World

The full report also claims that most students are surrounded by 6 hours of interactive media everyday and are evolving into learning only with interactive media. I have a very hard time accepting this. Where is the child getting 6 hours of media from? At home? Well, the parents need to limit that time, moderate it, and control it ferociously.

I don’t know of any geniuses or great minds throughout history that have developed their intellect by playing educational video games. The intelligence of mankind has not “evolved” with the advent of gaming.

An Ancient Interactive Tool For Learning

I get frustrated sometimes when I see the excitement when a new technology emerges that makes life just a little bit easier. Though I see the benefits and potential for educational video games, my view is that we already have an activity that we can use not only as an outside-of-the-classroom activity, but one that already has the scientific data and countless brilliant minds that have made use of it to their benefit.

I’m talking about learning a musical instrument, and learning how to play and read music. If you’ve ready my articles about Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, Albert Einstein and Steven Spielberg, then you know that music has an enormous impact on the development of an intelligent mind.

Below are three case studies and their summarized results found in three nationally recognized research organizations.

    • The Journal For Research In Music Education In 2007 Found That Elementary School Students In Top-Quality Music Programs Scored 22% Higher In English And 20% Higher In Mathematics Than Their Non-Musical Peers. June 2007; Dr. Christopher Johnson, Jenny Memmott
    • The American Chemical Society Found That Nearly 100% Of Past Winners In The Prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition (High School Students) In Science, Math, And Technology Played One Or More Musical Instruments. The Midland Chemist (American Chemical Society) Vol. 42, No.1, Feb. 2005
  • In A National Report By The College Board Documented That Students Of Music Continue To Outperform Their Non-Arts Peers On The SAT. In 2006, Students Of Music Performance/Music Coursework Scored 57 Points Higher On The Verbal And 43 Points Higher On The Math Parts Of The SAT. The College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report for 2006

The Differences Between Learning Music & Educational Video Games

If you read the summaries above, you may be thinking, “well, you just gave us the summary of the results just like DimensionM did and you didn’t go into the full in-depth report.” That’s true. And that’s why I listed my sources at the end of each study for you to read yourself. I encourage you to read the studies and see for yourself. However, I don’t know of too many people who would refute the cognitive benefits of music education. If anything, there are many people that are unaware of the benefits.

Below you will see two lists: one that summarizes just some of the scientific data found on the affects of studying music, and the other that summarizes the data found in the DimensionM study above.

Students Of All Grades/Abilities Involved In Music Education

  • 22% Higher Test Scores in English
  • 20% Higher Test Scores in Math
  • Nearly 100% of winners in Science Competitions
  • Score 57 points higher on Verbal SAT
  • Score 43 points higher on Math SAT

Below-Average Students Involved With DimensionM Educational Video Games

  • No Data found for Test Scores in English
  • 17% Higher Test Scores in Math
  • No Data found for winners in Science Competitions
  • No Data found for affects on SAT scores

Am I Being Unfair?

I will admit that I was a little unfair towards the DimensionM study because I compared several studies of music against one study of an educational video game. But, there are other case studies done by this gaming suite that provide similarly overly-hyped results. And all of the gaming suite studies were done on only below-average students while the music case studies were done on students of NOT just below-average students, but of all averages high and low.

I would also add that the music case studies were done by independent organizations that had no product that they were trying to sell. There was no special interest. On the other hand, the gaming studies using DimensionM were done by the same company trying to market its own product. Certainly, the facts would be sugar-coated. There’s no other way to see it.

Parents & Teachers: The One Thing You Should Take Away From This Article

Clearly, I have basically weakened the merits of DimensionU, one of the leading educational video games in the market. If this game or another is available to your child as a supplemental activity to help raise poor test scores, I would do it. Yes, I said to do it. It can’t hurt as long as it remains “supplemental.”

I would highly recommend that you try to get your child started in learning a musical instrument as soon as possible. The reason is because it takes time to develop the cognitive skills that come from learning music that will then translate to good grades and academic enthusiasm. The sooner the better.

Also, the benefits of learning music are more scientifically conclusive than educational games. I would not get too excited or fixated on the idea that video games can improve your child’s test scores in Math. Games have a long way to go before they can compete with music.

Technology cannot solve all of our problems!

The long term benefits of a music education are too long to list in this article. If you want to learn more, I have written many articles about the effects of music education on the mind.

Tony Margiotta is the founder of The Musiconomy, a publishing company advocates musical training as an essential focus in childhood education and development. Sign up for the Free monthly newsletter and special report here:

http://www.themusiconomy.com/newsletter.html

Tony is the author of “A Parent’s Guide: How To Get Your Child Started In Music,” a step-by-step approach that takes you through the process of inspiring musical interest in your child, to making the correct instrument and book purchases, and finding the right teacher. Full of tips, checklists, and more.

[http://www.tonysmusicbooks.com/Parents-Guide-Deluxe-Version-Ebook-MP3-201101.htm]

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Cool Games for Game Fanatics

A variety of cool games now are available for all ages, with features that remarkably make exciting adventures near to reality. The games promote realistic motion scenes due to their well-made graphics and designs. With their innovative appearances and features, a great number of people became game fanatics. They are avid fans of different cool games that can be played using computer devices, such as game consoles, Wii, desktop computers, computer tablets, mobile forms, and so much more. Among these gaming devices, computers belong to the most popular ones.

The demand for computers continues to rise, as technologies are developing as well. Almost all households nowadays have their own computers, and almost all people have their mobile phones. These devices were already considered as needs; unlike before that these things are just wants. The Internet industry now booms in popularity due to the massive growth of computer users. With these advancements, games were discovered and became popular sources of fun and excitement.

Most of these popular games are distributed throughout the Internet, most of them are free. They can be played online or not. There are games that can be downloaded even when you are not online. Most of these down loadable games belong to the arcade category, as they can be played via computer systems. Online games are more exciting ones, because they promote interaction between other people. Since it is online, thus interaction is highly allowed. It is more exciting when you keep on competing to real people aside from computer generated opponents.

A lot of different sites are offering numerous cool games that were properly programmed to become suitable to different ages. Wonderful action games, such Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Warcraft, Star craft, Counterstrike, House of the Dead and a lot more popular games. These are old games that continue to develop. Now, new versions of these games are presented globally. Level-ups of these cool play-offs are being played by numerous gamers nowadays. They are made by highly skilled programmers and game designers, thus they lasted for how many years.

Many arcade games were also developed and still present until now. These play-offs undergo level-ups as well. They already possess more fantastic features now. Some of them allow multi-player options; this means that many players can play one game at the same time. More fun can be gained when you have true opponents while playing. Multi-playing is really nice in playing fighting games.

It is truly great to spend your spare time in playing cool games. Rather than spending too much of your time and money in vacation every time you need to take a break from work, you can try playing fantastic games on your personal computer and mobile phone. Playing games even for a while can help in alleviating stress or tension from your body. This is a good recreational activity that will make your short-break worth it. You can access more of these games on different gaming sites that can be found in the Internet.

Bring the entertainment world of games with you anywhere, anytime with the magnificent cool games offered by Fun Fast Game, of which you can experience memorable game play experience on your PC and mobile phone.

This article is written by Kevin Nguyen, from Fun Fast Game. Let your mind and body works in motion by playing with these remarkably programmed cool games online.

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Uncovered Features of Funny Games

In dealing with funny games online, features are always on the top of gamers’ considerations. They usually base their choices in the power of features and how they could bring remarkable gaming experiences to them. No one will prefer games that will just present very simple sets of operations over more challenging ones. Most gamers would really prefer those challenging play-offs. The more fun and excitement they can feel when they are being challenged by these games. Boredom is not an issue when it comes to challenging play-offs, most especially if multi-playing is allowed, as almost all gamers like playing with real players. They will enjoy more when they are playing with their friends. Gaming is truly a great bonding activity that is suitable for groups of friends who prefer to just stay in one place to play computer play-offs rather than going outdoors.

Game playing is also a good leisure activity for families. Of course, not all the time families will spend their spare time together in other places. Many families like spending their spare time at their own homes. The most comfortable place to stay-in is always at home. Members of the families can play various funny games via video game consoles, personal computers, laptops, computer tablets, mobile phones, and other gaming devices. Out of these devices, personal computers are the common ones that are being used by gamers and non-gamers, as these tools are multi-purpose. Although computers are not made specifically for gaming only, but people can make these devices specialized for playing. With computer upgrading systems, the features of computers will be enhanced to more powerful ones that are capable of playing games that have larger memory requirements due to their advanced graphics and functionality.

Upgrading computers into advanced levels is certainly possible and not that hard to do, as you will just have to consult for computer technicians or perhaps gaming experts. However, doing this could really cost you big amount of money, most especially if you wanted to replace several tools and features at the same period of time. Upgrading in a practical way would really take years just to make your device a really powerful one, unless you are willing to spend lots of your money in just a short period of time. You can upgrade tools and features gradually. In fact, it would me much better to upgrade them one at a time. You can save money when you are willing to do it in a practical way. There are also many gaming tools that are on-sale if you just have the perseverance to search for them in various places. Video cards are basic requirements for these upgrading methods, and most of these high-level video cards would really cost you a lot, especially those new versions.

Great games will be more appreciated if they will be played using good devices. If these advance play-offs are made to be played in particular devices, their wonderful features will show if playing requirements will be followed efficiently. In every game there are always playing requirements. Even though you can play most of these games using different gaming devices, but still they are more promising when their requirements are followed.

Many games offer realistic gaming experiences to consumers, most of these are considered as high-level games with advanced requirements. They could present promising graphics that could make gaming very realistic, just like gamers who are really playing in action. The action figures of these wonderful play-offs can bring more intense effects, as if gamers represent their own characters. Thus, adrenaline levels will definitely increase along with intense action scenes.

Several action games like those fighting and racing play-offs could bring adrenaline rush to players, because of their realistic features. Players could really feel the actual game situations just like they are really present there. Some racing games will make players feel that they are the real drivers, because of the clarity of the graphics, audio, and controls. They can control some of racing cars almost the same as they are really driving them. These action games are available online, which can play them via the internet or can even download them, so that players can play them anywhere and anytime.

Other features include live interaction while playing. This means that player can interact with their co-payers even when they are playing by just opening chat box feature. Funny games that offer this great features are those online games that are played with the presence of the Internet. Since the web allows networking of data from different places, thus it allows communication as well. This advantage was incorporated to online games, so that player can get the realistic gaming experiences they expected to have.

With the advancements of technologies nowadays, 3D games were discovered. These play-offs have more realistic appeals. Their graphics could enhance the appearances of your favorite gaming characters, as you can see them just like they are in front of you. The movements of gaming figures are far different from ordinary games when you play 3D play-offs. Since they have 3-dimensional graphic feature, thus they can make people believe that they are representing their characters. The action scenes can be made more intense if the graphics are wonderful, and will be put together with magnificent audio capabilities. The sound is a significant part of gaming, as it is not just all about viewing. Gaming involve people’s sense of sight and hearing. Games could hardly appreciate any funny games that have no sound features. Actually, all games really need the stated basic features, so that they can be labeled as real ones, because one of their main purposes is to entertain. It would be hard for these games to bring out their purposes if they did not possess these uncovered basic features.

Bring the entertainment world of games with you anywhere, anytime with the magnificent funny games offered by Fun Fast Game, of which you can experience memorable game play experience on your PC and mobile phone.

This article is written by Kevin Nguyen, from Fun Fast Game. Let your mind and body works in motion by playing with these remarkably programmed funny games online.

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Tichu Card Game Review

Work together with your partners and defeat your opponents in Tichu, the exciting and volatile trick-taking card game! Use your strategy skills and teamwork to rid your hand of cards before your opponents can. Take advantage of the powerful effects of unique cards such as the dragon, phoenix and dog. Use bids of confidence, card trick bombs and deductive reasoning to get ahead of your opponents. Risk it all in your quest for victory!

Tichu, whose name in Chinese means roughly to “propose” or to “put forward”, is a fast-paced trick-playing card game with roots in Asia. It bears large similarities to the Chor Dai Dee and Da Lao Er Chinese card games which are hugely popular in East Asia. There are elements of Bridge and Poker in the game, and this fusion of styles and mechanics has created a very popular card game. The Tichu variation of this Asian card game was designed by Urs Hostetler in 1991, and has steadily acquired a growing fanbase.

Tichu is mostly played with 2 teams of 2 players each (though the game can accommodate between 3 to 6 players in total). You sit across from your partner, and your team’s goal is to win more points than your opponents during each game, and games continue until one team achieves the target number of points. A hundred points are up for grabs each game, and the target score is usually a thousand.

The game is played using a standard 52-card deck containing 4 suits of 13 cards each, plus an additional 4 special cards unique to this game. The game is played using tricks, which are very similar to poker hands. You can play single cards, pairs, a series of pairs, three-of-a-kind, full house, and straights of at least 5 cards.

The basic premise of the game is pretty straightforward: the lead player opens a round by playing a trick, and players take turns playing tricks that are of the same kind and larger in value than the previously played trick. Once everyone passes, the player who played the last trick wins all the cards played that round, and he gets to start a new round by playing any trick in his hand. For example, Player A opens a round with a pair of 4’s. Player B passes because he either does not have any pairs in his hand or chooses not to play them. Player C plays a pair of 7’s. Player D then plays a pair of Queens. After everyone else passes (opting not to play anymore pairs), Player D wins the round and claims all the cards on the table, and then starts a new round by playing a full house.

Winning the cards played in each round is what scores you points. However, only a few cards are worth anything. 5’s are worth 5 points each, and 10’s and Kings are worth 10 points each. The other normal cards are worth nothing, and merely act as tools for you to win the point cards. The game continues until one player “goes out” by emptying his hand. The game still continues with the remaining players, until only one player is left. Each partnership then totals the number of points they earned that game. You are penalized for coming in last though; the last player has to give all the cards he won that game to the first player who went out, and all the remaining cards in his hand to his opponents.

As you can see, this is a game where teamwork and strategy are required to win (though partners are not allowed to talk strategy during the game). You have to make sure your team wins the rounds where point cards are involved. You also need to make sure you aren’t the last player remaining in the game. In addition, if your entire team goes out before any of your opponents can, the point cards don’t matter and your team earns a whopping 200 points!

Unfortunately, that was just the basics. Tichu has a lot of other rules to make the game interesting and challenging. As mentioned before, there are 4 special cards in the game. They are the Mahjong, the Dog, the Dragon and the Phoenix, and each has its own abilities. The player with the Mahjong card gets to play the first trick, and can force a card to be played. Playing the Dog gives the lead to your partner. The Dragon is the highest value single card and is also worth 25 points. However, you have to give all the cards you won that round (including the Dragon) to an opponent. The Phoenix acts as a wild card and can be played with any trick, but it comes with a hefty -25 point penalty.

There are also tricks you can play called “Bombs”. If you have a four-of-a-kind or a straight-flush, this acts as a Bomb and you can use it to interrupt any round and immediately take the lead. However, your Bomb can also be interrupted by another bigger Bomb. Lots of fun! There are also a couple of other rules to the game. At the start of each game, you need to pass a card to each other player, thereby slightly influencing the quality of the other players’ hands. Before each player plays their first card, they also have the opportunity to call a Tichu. This means they are proclaiming that they will “go out” first. If they do, they win a bonus 100 points. But if they don’t, they lose the 100 points. You can also call a Grand Tichu when only 8 cards (out of 14) have been dealt. This works the same as a Tichu call, but the bonus (or loss) is 200 points!

The many rules in the game can seem daunting, and they can take a while to learn, especially for players who are new to this game genre or have not experienced trick-playing card games such as Bridge before. However, once you do get the hang of it, you will find that it becomes a game full of strategy, teamwork, guessing and second-guessing. And if your gaming group is of the high-risk variety, the constant calls of Tichu or Grand Tichu will turn the game into a suspenseful and exciting game where the point lead can swing wildly until the very end.

Tichu is a great game that you can play a very many times without getting bored. The level of thinking, planning and tricking in the game can even rival that of Bridge. Suffice to say, if you are willing to learn the many rules of the game, you will be rewarded with hours of fun! You will like Tichu if you like other trick-taking card games such as Bridge, Hearts or 500.

Rating: 4.5/5.0
Complexity: 3.5/5.0
Playing Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Number of Players: 3 to 6 players

You can read more about Tichu and check out similar games at http://boardgames.gamepudding.com/r/tichu.html

Steven maintains the board game review website at http://boardgames.gamepudding.com/ – a website devoted to the best and latest board and card games. You can read game reviews and customer comments via this website.

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Letting Loose With Free Online Games And Tycoon Games

Tycoon games are not just like any other game. They are about growing your income and managing a business or a restaurant. When you play a tycoon game, you will be allowed to control the entire world you are in. In some games in the tycoon genre, you can buy homes and sell them for a higher price, or manage an entire town and build its success. There is rarely a tycoon game that is not exciting enough to be playing for hours on end. These types of games had so much hype ever since they were born. These types of games are becoming quite popular in the online gaming world and new free online games in this specific genre are being created nearly every day. This is a great thing for the gamers of the Internet as they love to play tycoon games and other free online games alike.

Most technology required to play online tycoon games are created from flash. Flash is a system that enables fast animation to be displayed on the Internet in a web browser. Tycoon games on the Internet will require you to download and install a flash player that will enable you to view flash embedded files or play online flash video games.

Many tycoon type games offer and represent some sort of open sandbox town or city or even country where you are required to build and manage it depending on its obligations, rules, or requirements. When building a city, town, or country you will learn the basics of what it needs to survive and what it needs to thrive. The Internet gaming community is constantly building and coming up with new ideas for free online games on the web. These types of games will never get old and they are some of the most fun free online games we can think of to play, especially in our free time. New tycoon games have completely rebuilt their graphics and interfaces but most game play has still remained the same. The customization of the game is the hard part; it must not be the same like any other game. It must be new, different, and most of all, it must be fun.

When going on the Internet and playing tycoon games you will be able to embrace your skills of building, operating, and managing an entire city, town, or country. You will learn what needs to be done, and what needs to be built, in order to keep things moving smoothly. The most fun about these games is that you will be earning money. When you earn money, you will be able to create more for your city, town, or country and be able to make it a better place for your society to develop and thrive. Check out tycoon games now and join in on the fun.

Are you looking for free online games [http://www.playgamesasap.com]? Then be sure to visit our website to play games like logic, puzzles, racing, zombie, action, tycoon games [http://www.playgamesasap.com/tycoon-games.html] and a lot more!

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