Online Educational Games For Preschoolers – Buffet Vs Banquet

The Internet has accumulated a huge collection of online educational games for preschool and kindergarten kids, many of which are freely available to the interested parent. We looked at a whole lot of these games to figure out the quality of such readily available online fun learning games.

There are a lot of websites offering online educational games in various areas of learning such as early mathematics, analytics, language etc. However, there is one major shortcoming with such online games. This is with regards to organization of such games. We found that most of these online educational games are quite unorganized. This is what we call the “buffet” model. It is like going to a buffet to eat all you want. It can be nice in the sense that you can eat anything you want – you can even start with the dessert and end with appetizer. However, for every course you have to get up and walk up to the food to serve yourself. When you take your young kids to a buffet, you not only have to serve yourself, but also serve your young kids, which makes you work twice as much.

In the context of educating kids online, the “buffet model” requires a lot of planning and hard work from the parental side. The buffet model can make navigating from one game to another quite difficult for the parent and almost impossible for the kid on its own. Looking at such content, one easily comes to the conclusion that parents have to spend a lot of time trying to organize and present content and educational games to their kids, so that the kids would get something meaningful out of it. This means that parents have to baby sit them on a daily basis and put in a lot of a-priori homework on their part.

The other side of the equation is what we call the “banquet” model, where in it is like going to a banquet. You are served with a full 7 course meal, which you can simply sit and enjoy. It is more of a finer dining experience. Of course you will likely not be able to start with the dessert and end with the appetizer here.

Online Educational Games In The New Millennium

The future of higher education will involve:

A) The same traditional classroom structure we’ve had for hundreds of years;

B) It does not matter- dolphins will take over the earth;

C) Robots will teach us all; or

D) The use of interactive software in combination with distance learning to supplement current programs

Okay, so you probably don’t think that artificial intelligence will advance so rapidly that robots will become our primary teachers and you probably don’t even think dolphins will take over the earth! What you might be aware of is that the internet is changing the way that education is being administered. You may have taken a distance-ed course or you may have even taken a class that came with a nifty little software package that let you work with the material.

The problem, however, is that not all subjects can be administered through a computer. Sure, one could argue that programs such as accounting, history, or statistics could be completely learned from a distance. After all, these subjects do not necessarily require any face-to-face interaction, but what about programs that do? Clearly, learning a language without face-to-face interaction would be like training for a marathon by running on a treadmill. Marketing and communication programs require face-to-face interactions so that students can learn to make persuasive arguments and presentations. All of the science labs require the presence of students. After all, how many of you would want a doctor that had only practiced on a virtual human. So if the computer cannot solve all our educational needs, what is the answer?

The answer is an integrated approach. If you are anything like this author, you learn 100 times better when you are engaged in the material. Thus, a really well done CD or internet site with interactive games and quizzes will force the students to interact with the material. This distance learning approach must be used as a supplement to traditional classroom methods as it cannot be a substitute for team building, face-to-face questions and answers, or building oral communication skills. All that said, many things currently done in the classroom can be moved online. Group discussions and question sessions can be accomplished via forums and chat sessions, certain scientific concepts learned in lab can be learned through interactive video, and even certain grammar basics of languages can be learned through interactive voice recognition software.

In high school and even some college courses, I was bored out of my mind as long-winded, verbose (yes, that was redundant on purpose) lecturers would go on and on about historical battles or the biochemistry translation process. At the time, I just figured such subjects were inherently boring. After all, how excited could one get about the battle of 1812 or the process by which proteins are formulated? But as I grew older, I became interested in things that I thought I disliked! A movie or an interesting article might turn me on to a subject I previously thought was about as interesting as paint drying. What the heck was going on? I was more engaged in the subject matter, that’s what! And so my crystal ball tells me that even though professors may be going nowhere, fun, educational, interactive games- well, they’re coming!

Computer Hardware and Simulation Gaming for Aviation Safety Considered

Modern day computer hardware is getting quite robust, and there is about 10 times the computing power in a smart phone as was used to fly the first Space Shuttle, maybe more. Still, when it comes to operating today’s aircraft simulators the computer hardware is intense, and these simulators can cost a ton of money. Because they cost so much the time to use them becomes very valuable, therefore most airlines only use them as required to check out their pilots, or train them for certification on the next aircraft that pilot needs to fly so he or she can get their type rating and satisfactorily prove they are safe.

The other day, I was speaking with an expert in computer online gaming communities, Troy Laclaire, about the use of simulators in aviation, and how great these tools were for complying with safety standards and preventing mistakes in the real world, carrying real passengers, when it really mattered most. One question we pondered was should airline pilots, commercial pilots, charter pilots, and fractional jet pilots be required to fly with another pilot to an airport first prior to going there as the pilot in command for the first time.

If such an onerous rule were to be made by the FAA, what about simulators, couldn’t a pilot merely fly the last 5-10 minutes on approach and take-off to each airport that the airline generally went too? Maybe, but in the case of a charter jet, that might mean they’d spend 100s of hours in a simulator and that costs a lot of money right? Okay so is there a solution to all this? Troy has come up with one potential solution, so lets’ talk about this shall we. First, Troy notes:

The only problem with this is that simulators are not exactly cheap to run and each simulation takes a fair amount of time, and far as I understand simulators are mostly used to get pilots comfortable with flying a particular plane type. However, since the pilots are generally already familiar with flying their planes (at least I should hope so) and nearly everyone has computers these days, it is possible that you could have a DVD series created to cover the routes, based around actual flights, and then have the pilots use their computers to run these so that they can get some familiarity with the airports.

Now then, this is a good idea, and it makes sense, a perfect solution, plus it also stands to reason that a gaming expert would come up with this concept. Okay so, Troy also suggests that we “provide the pilots with a take home DVD, basic flight-sim gaming controls, and they can use these to get some muscle memory.” This too makes sense, keeping it simple, and perfect for a last-minute booking for a fractional jet, or charter flight, as the pilot can merely practice a couple of ILS approaches, missed approach, take-off, and navigating the taxi ways, etc.

Troy, being a computer hardware engineer, and quite the prudent safety advisor also states; “Alternatively, have a “pilots room” setup where a pilot can run through a video/basic simulator of a previous flight that has already flown that route, letting them get a rough idea of what to expect when going to an airport they are not yet familiar with.”

Okay so that’s pretty easy, it can be set up in the break room of the local Jet Center, or at an FBO etc. Perhaps, for $10-20 they can shoot a couple of landings at the desired future airport that they will be flying too? Perhaps, it might also be available to ALL general aviation pilots, the DVDs and a flight simulator room at the local FBO, etc. May as well keep the system busy and paying for itself, perhaps it might also spit out certificates of completion and aviation insurance companies may consider lowering rates too? Indeed, I hope you will consider all this and think on it.