Posts published in August, 2018
BY EMMA BONNEY
While graduation is a time of celebration, many students also struggle with confusion and uncertainty. Which are the following steps they should take for their formal education or career? Many are still clueless about how to approach their lives and careers after this period of their lives
To make their lives easier and offer a little guidance, below are some tips that will help college students properly prepare for their graduation and future career.
Visit Your School’s Career Service Office
After graduation, many students think of their career; what jobs should they seek and how to prepare for interviews to boost their employment chances. Besides guidance, the Career Office at your Uni will be able to help you find a part-time job or even an internship, depending on your degree specialization. Besides, the counsellors here will be able to help you with your cover letter, resume, portfolio and whatever other documentation is necessary for your first job.
With the counselor’s help, make sure to prepare your resume with a full history of your experience, the projects you participated in and skills you obtained through all your formal education years.
Make sure to adapt all cover letters for each job that you apply for. This will make it look professional and that you put the necessary efforts into it. However, the Career Office will be able to help you prepare the base of your cover letter. From that, you will be able to add or subtract other information, depending on the position you apply for.
Get your References
For a bright future career, you should get the right references from the right people. In most of the cases, a great reference makes the big difference between getting a job or not. If you were brilliant at a certain course, ask the course professor to write you a recommendation. If you followed an internship, ask your internship supervisor for one.
Prepare for Graduate School
If you don’t want to start searching for a job right away and you would rather focus on your formal education, make sure to search for the perfect school for your own needs. If you found one, have you properly prepared for all the admission tests? If not, you should start searching for some GMAT Prep courses, as well as GRE. Depending you’re the school of your choice, there might be necessary some other graduate level exams.
Know How Much You Owe in Student Debts
In most of the cases, the first payment of your student loan is after graduation, within six months. You should start figuring out right now how much you owe your debtor so you won’t have any surprises. And most importantly, don’t ignore your loan debtor’s correspondence.
Some of these pieces of advice will help undergraduate students accommodate better to the context after your graduation. Make sure to find a mentor as well. They will help you with pieces of advice and help you choose a viable career path for your own abilities and skills.
Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.
BY ANTON LUCANUS
The smartphone is a hallmark of the age of technology, introducing Millennials to limitless information at the push of a button. As American singer and songwriter, Carrie Underwood, said, “My cell phone is my best friend. It’s my lifeline to the outside world.”
Earlier generations did not have the same freedom with phones as the Millennials. Too much freedom can have its perils, though. As US Senator Kamala Harris has said, “These days, children can text on their cell phone all night long, and no one else is seeing that phone. You don’t know who is calling that child.”
However, there is a positive side to widespread cell phone usage; something parents realized when kids go off to college. Far away from parental control and exuberant in navigating their newly-acquired freedom, college kids shed inhibitions and forget to be responsible. This is a parent’s worst nightmare and they can spend sleepless nights wondering if their kids are safe.
It is a sobering thought for college kids how quickly anticipated fun can turn into disaster. Researchers have found that 1825 college students in the US between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries every year, including motor vehicle crashes. Also, each year, 696,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 become the assault victims of their intoxicated peers. Furthermore, every year, around 97,000 students between 18 and 24 become victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
However, all is not lost, thanks to mobile phones. There are different ways that parents can still get to know what their kids are up to while away at college through various digital tools. For instance, a particular smartphone app alerts a dad if his son is texting while driving. Phone technology goes beyond concerned parents: many businesses utilize call tracking software to gather valuable data on incoming customer calls. With Millennials and Gen Z remaining obsessed with their smartphones, companies have developed apps for parents to tracks their kids’ physical whereabouts and monitor their driving speed.
Some college kids are good at staying in touch and are committed to letting their parents have some peace of mind. For instance, they may call or text on a Sunday morning after late-night partying on Saturday. But there are other college kids who are not conscientious about communicating with parents. In such instances, parents are compelled to get in the driver seat to keep a check on their kids’ movements.
Furthermore, with the high cost of college, parents are concerned about kids doing well in school and graduating on time. There are mobile apps available that allow parents to track how their kid in college is faring, as well as the regularity of their attendance. USA Today, quoting the University of Texas in Austin, says that students who graduate on time will spend 40% less on college fees than students who graduate in six years.
However, many parents will still grit their teeth and wait patiently for kids to contact them, not wanting to be resented or be seen as “helicopter” parents. One mother, Randi Olin, founder of Motherwell, a website that tell all sides of the parenting story, says, “So I wait for her to come to me, and believe that these unexpected, authentic snippets—a quick call on the way back from the gym, a late night text telling me about sorority rush, a brief FaceTime call on the walk back from the library—far outweigh any round-the-clock location tracker.”
One grandmother said, “My theory is, you’ve got to be in the game to help them know what’s wrong and what’s right. Keeping them from it is not going to work. You can either be out there with them in the game — or they’ll be out there without you.”
Lady Bird Johnson, wife of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, said, “Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.”
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals.
BY LINDA ANDERSON
It is no secret that SEO is the key to success in this age and times of the Internet. Search Engine Optimization, popularly abbreviated as SEO, determines one’s ranking on a search engine results. But unfortunately, most academic institutions, be it regular colleges and universities or even majority of technical classes, do not teach SEO as a part of their curriculum. A strong knowledge of SEO building activities aimed to improve the search engine rankings is an essential job skill today. While there are some jobs which exclusively need candidates with SEO skills, most others prefer candidates who have a strong knowledge of SEO. But if your college is not teaching you, here’s how you can study and master these skills to become an SEO expert on your own.
Utilise the power of internet
It is extremely unfortunate but most of college education simply doesn’t include adequate knowledge and understanding of SEO. Even those courses which deal with SEO are mostly not very detailed and simply include the basic definitions without going into intricate details. In these current times when SEO building is an absolutely essential skill you as a student need to proactively utilise the resources that the internet has to offer. Do ample research on SEO in your free time. Make the best use of your college Wi-Fi to become a master of search engine ranking and optimisation by the time you graduate from college.
Do your keyword research
Once you understand what SEO does and how you can work on building ranking, it is time to do you research on SEO building activities and keywords. There are several helpful blogs which can help you improve your SEO skills and knowledge. When it comes to keywords this is where most of the hard work goes. You need to understand that keywords are essential, be it for linking or general SEO improvement. The more you do your research, the more will you understand what kind of keywords you need to employ. With the right keywords you can actually do so much when it comes to improving search engine rankings.
Blogging can offer you an insight into SEO building by providing you a firsthand experience into the search engine rankings. Make the best of college to learn an essential job skill by blogging on topics that you like. This serves two purposes for your future. Firstly, it gives you essential and valuable SEO lessons which you can employ in your job, startup and other endeavours. It also gives you a blog which you can later monetise into a viable career over time.
Join an internship
There are a number of excellent digital marketing and SEO firms such as JuxtDigital which you can choose to go for an internship in. It is actively helping companies to optimise their search engine ranks. Therefore, you can learn SEO building techniques and trade secrets hands on. An internship is a great way to teach yourself essential skills, while gaining some work experience in the process as well.
A thorough knowledge of SEO and various activities which improve search engine rankings has become a nonnegotiable skill in the job market. It gives you an extra edge when you are looking for employment after college. Make the best use of your college years to improve your SEO skills.
By line for Linda Anderson
I’m a writer and musician residing in Boise, ID in the United States, although I spent a small amount of time (about three years) living in the UK growing up, due to my father’s occupation. I graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor’s Degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014.
BY ANNABEL MONAGHAN
A few years’ back, a Latina College student attending Suffolk University, Boston, used the word ‘hence’ in a college paper, and was thus accused of plagiarism. Her teacher underlined the word and demanded the student “go back and indicate where (she) cut and paste”, emphasizing that the word “was not (her) language”.
The student was baffled, hurt and outraged that her last name and minority status had immediately instilled a set of biases in her professor, biases that led her to accuse the Latina student of having ‘stolen’ words that were not representative of her ‘native’ language.
This soon became an example of plagiarism-paranoia-gone-wrong – and the university and professor are now kicking themselves over the resultant public relations crisis they have found themselves in. But in this dangerous territory we are now entering into following the advent of the internet and due to the increasingly online nature of the contemporary classroom, where should colleges and universities draw the line?
It goes without saying that serious mechanisms must be in place to ensure that students who cheat or plagiarize are not advantaged – and that they do not get away with it. It is now common practice for professors and course instructors to use plagiarism detection sites such as Turnitin.com or plagiarism.com to check all submitted pieces of work by students, and systems are in place that ensure students account for all ‘borrowed’ information or thoughts of others through citation and referencing.
And most students generally understand that academic achievements are 100 percent premised on integrity, honesty, respect, accountability, and responsibility. The academic rules of conduct enforced by universities worldwide are generally intended to foster behaviors consistent with a civil setting, meaning that students will need to comply with such regulations both during university – and beyond it – if they wish to become active, respected, contributing members of society.
Yet, it was noted during a 2003 journalism convention that 70 percent of college graduates admitted to plagiarizing at least once during their college career. In more recent years, it was found that Britain’s universities were experiencing a “plagiarism epidemic” after an investigation revealed almost 50,000 students had been caught cheating over the previous three years. International students were accused of being the worst offenders and were more than four times likely to cheat that other university students.
“Nowadays, these records can become permanent on the internet,” said Alistair Vigier, CEO of Clearway Law. “One lazy mistake can have devastating ramification, in terms of employment for years to come.”
So, how does one survive in the academic arena in such a difficult context? How does one reference to the extent required in a degree program, and embrace all the internet has to offer information-wise, without entering into the muddy waters of academic misconduct?
Some students have – despite their best intentions – been falsely accused of academic misconduct, leading them to ultimately fail their course. Rutgers student Amanda Serpico and her family resorted to hiring a family lawyer to help them appeal to her university, which claimed Turnitin.com had flagged her final essay as plagiarized and therefore failed her.
But there are many foolproof ways to avoid plagiarism. Here are some top tips for avoiding potential accusations of misconduct:
- It’s obvious, but always cite your sources. Ensure you double check your bibliography before submitting an assessment, making sure you have included all the correct information required in a citation – and in the correct order, too. Auto-citing programs come with their faults, it’s better to do this part manually.
- Try to avoid inaccurate authorship: ensure you have cited the author of the exact edition of version of the book you have taken an idea or text from. It’s possible to commit this form of plagiarism when someone else edits a manuscript, and often students are caught out by this.
- Avoid data fabrication or data falsification: this refers to manipulating research data to give a false impression, or to support your overall argument. Students do this by removing inconvenient results or adding data points.
- Use Turnitin.com or other plagiarism checker sites yourself to check over your work before submitting. Many platforms offer free services to students if they wish to submit documents under a certain size, otherwise most universities offer an opportunity for students to check at least once before submitting each assignment.
- Always review your work: Once you’ve finished your essay, check it. And check it again. And again. And then have your friend check it again. Ensure that every chunk of information or thought is not attributable to another source or person – and if it is, ensure it is correctly cited.
- Understand the different type of plagiarism: really, this should be your first step. There is direct plagiarism, mosaic plagiarism, accidental or self-plagiarism.
- Become an efficient note-taker. Write down all referencing details of anything you read, watch or listen to that impacts your thoughts on a subject. Be methodical and accurate.
As Jean Cocteau once said, “The world worships the original.” For your own sake above all else, become an independent thinker, capable of your own independent thought, and use others’ thoughts merely to support your own. If you take this approach not only will you breeze through university but you will graduate a capable, eloquent, independent academic – a graduate of integrity.
Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at email@example.com.
BY ALEX HASLAM
Starting college is one of life’s biggest milestones, and even the most prepared incoming freshmen can feel nervous and overwhelmed. While everyone’s college experience is unique, there are a few tips everyone can follow to prepare for the transition and conquer freshman year.
- Pack Only the Essentials
Moving into a dorm is likely the first time you’ll live on your own. While you may want to bring every single item from home, don’t pack more than you need, especially if you’re moving across state lines. Instead, focus on the school supplies and clothes you’ll use for everyday tasks and classes, along with a few sentimental items to remind you of home.
- Keep a Budget
Tuition and room and board are just a few of the college fees you can expect each year. What you may not expect are book costs and extra money for weekends. Setting up a budget allows you to take control of your finances before the rush of college distracts you. You can start small by setting a monthly budget and using a spreadsheet to keep track of all expenses, helping you avoid spending more than your income allows.
- Create a Routine
Too often, freshmen fall into the trap of sleeping in, skipping class, and delaying laundry day for as long as possible. While you may not have your parents watching your every step, avoid the temptation of laziness. Establish a daily routine, from sleep and wake times to study hours and gym schedules. It may sound boring at first, but sticking to a schedule will help you keep on top of your assignments, stay awake in class, and feel energized and healthy.
- Sign Up for an Extracurricular
One of the best ways to make new friends is to find people with similar interests. For freshman year, commit to joining at least one extracurricular activity. If you’re athletic, this activity may be an intramural sports team, and if you like social outings, it may be a sorority or fraternity. Many colleges also offer a listing of on-campus clubs and organizations, from student government and the school newspaper to chess club and volunteer programs.
- Eat Right
It’s important to be conscious of the choices you make with your food, because we all know it’s hard to resist the often all-you-can-eat options at college cafeterias. As tempting as it is to load up your plate with any option, aim to eat a healthy balance. Focusing on foods that help you have energy and feel good can make a huge difference in college. Eating nutritious and quality food can help you deal with stress and avoid depression while working through your classes.
- Find a Study Zone
In college, weekends start earlier and earlier every year. It’s common for parties to start on a Thursday night, which can make for a loud environment if you still have classes the next day. Instead of studying in your dorm room, find a dedicated study zone. For many, this place is the library, but some colleges offer lounges with comfy chairs, computer rooms, coffee shops, and other quiet spaces for students to study. Find a space where you can get comfortable and stay focused on your school work.
- Explore Your Options
Even if you’ve already established your major and have a five-year plan in place, try as many different classes as possible. You never know what new interests you may discover, and you may even pick up a hobby or two. Just because you’re a finance major doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try an art class, and English majors should dabble in science classes. College is your opportunity to explore every possible career or learning option and find out exactly what interests you.
Ultimately, college is about balance—having fun but making time to study, eating a salad for dinner but a donut for breakfast, and focusing on your major but remaining curious about others. Following these tips can help you feel more prepared to get a good start on your college career and enjoy a memorable and successful freshman year.
Alex Haslam graduated from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah in 2017. Today she is a freelance writer who focuses on consumer technology, entertainment, and higher education.
BY JANE HURST
It is the start of a new semester. You are running around gathering supplies and clothes to get ready to go back to college. One thing you are probably not thinking about is your back health. Surprisingly, back health should be on the top of your list. Over eighty percent of college students have back problems. The way you sit and what you carry will either help or harm your back. Here are seven tips to keep your back limber and strong.
- Wear sensible shoes
This is one of the most important steps when dealing with your spine. You might be looking at the latest styles in dress shoes and heels, but you should be looking at shoes that support your back. You will be walking around campus most of the day and you will need strong support for you spines. Good shoes are supportive and help keep the spine aligned. When you walk, your feet should remain steady and not roll to the side. This will help prevent injuries to your back. Save the heels for special occasions and be comfortable while you are walking around.
A good spine is a supple spine. Stretching your spine will keep it limber and flowing. Yoga will help to stretch and strengthen your spine. During school you will be sitting in class for an hour and a half. When your stand up after sitting in class, you should do some yoga stretches that will help your spine realign.
- Ditch the Backpack
Backpacks, when used incorrectly, can throw your spine out of whack. Never over pack a backpack and make sure you are wearing the backpack correctly. It should be worn on the back with the straps adjusted correctly, not over the shoulder. If possible, ditch the backpack all together and only carry what is necessary for your class.
- Core Exercises
“Your back is supported by strong diaphragm and abdominal muscles. These muscles comprise your core muscles. If your core is strong, your back is less likely to get hurt,” says an expert from Upstate Spine and Sport. Walking and swimming are good exercises for your back; however, you should include core strengthening exercises in your daily routine.
Since students can be confined to their desks for upwards of an hour and a half, it is important for you to move and stretch when you can. You should stretch and walk a bit between classes, even if your next class is in the same room. Movement will help your spine stay limber.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Lying down at night helps your back realign after sitting, standing, and walking all day. Be sure you have access to a good mattress and pillow. Be sure the mattress and pillow align with the way you sleep. As tempting as it may be to sit up and pull an all-nighter, your spine will not thank them in the morning.
- Sit and Stand up Straight
One very important thing to keep in mind is your posture. When you are sitting and looking at your phones or slouched on the couch watching television, you are putting pressure on their spine. Having a strong core will help encourage good posture, but you have to be aware of how you are sitting and standing. If you slump, they will end up with a sore back.
Back problems can cause you to miss school and be in excruciating pain. If you have back pain that persists, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Be sure you are exercising and practicing good posture. Remember to stretch and walk around to loosen your backs. And, lose the backpack. Only carry what is necessary when you travel around campus. Follow these tips and you will have a pain free school year.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.
Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher ED
A decade ago, students spent an average of $701 per year on required course materials. Now, according to the latest data from the National Association of College Stores, they are spending under $500.
The reason for the spending drop is the “increased use of free and lower-cost digital and rental materials,” according to Estella McCollum, vice president of research and consulting at NACS.
In its latest annual report on course material spending, published Wednesday, NACS said students were still more likely to buy course materials than not, but that the number of students using free course materials is increasing.
This year, 32 percent of students reported using free course materials, compared with 25 percent last year and 19 percent in 2016, according to the NACS data. Just under 60 percent said their professors had provided them with the free materials. About 17 percent of students admitted to perhaps illegally downloading course materials from torrent or peer-to-peer sharing sites, quite possibly in breach of copyright restrictions, though students were not asked to specify.
The report, which compiled responses from more than 34,000 students at 63 two- and four-year institutions in the U.S. and Canada, found that students are waiting longer to purchase course materials as they try to determine whether they will really need them.
The number of students buying, renting or borrowing course materials has stayed relatively flat for the last four years. This year, NACS said that 83 percent of students purchased course materials, 44 percent rented and 12 percent borrowed.
Though many students reported preferring print to digital course materials, most said that they would shop for whichever was cheapest.
NACS, perhaps unsurprisingly as an advocate of college bookstores, found that the bookstores are still the No. 1 destination for students looking to rent or buy course materials.
Phil Hill, co-founder of Mindwires Consulting and co-publisher of the e-Literate blog, said that NACS has demonstrated “the value and validity” of its survey over the years, despite its natural bias. Hill noted that the organization’s spending figures are in line with the U.S. Department of Education’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study published in May.
Hill described the drop in student spending as a “surprise” but said that “more interesting” is the increase in students who don’t acquire course materials until after the first week of class.
“This is not good news for education, as we are realizing more and more how important it is to have materials from day one.”
In the report, two reasons were suggested for students not getting materials right away — price, and not thinking materials are necessary. “Both speak to market and instructional problems,” said Hill.
Mike Hale, vice president of education for North America at digital content provider VitalSource, said that textbook and course material costs are going down, but “more must be done to help ensure postsecondary education is accessible and affordable to all.”
He pointed to the success of digital course materials obtained through inclusive-access programs as a “common-sense opportunity to save an average of $295 per student per semester.”
Though students may appear to be spending less on course materials, that does not necessarily mean that the price of course materials is coming down, said Nicole Allen, director of open education at SPARC, an advocacy group that promotes the use of open educational resources.
Allen said there are many factors that could be affecting student spending. “Some are positive, like the expanded use of freely available open educational resources,” she said. “Others are negative, like the significant number of students who skip buying some of their materials due to cost.”
Referring to average costs for students can be deceiving, said Allen. “There are still many students facing extraordinarily high textbook bills, even if the average is lower.”
“As with all of these studies, it only tells one part of the story,” she said.
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BY ANTON LUCANUS
Colleges and universities provide adults with the education and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in a professional work environment. It’s a place of academic and personal growth for many students and a location to build connections with peers, professors, and industry professionals. It’s important to utilize the knowledge and connections gained as a tool for success after graduation. The decision to enter college isn’t easy. It takes years to complete, a large amount of financial investment, and the ability to academically compute, recall, and present information. Although these factors may be considered more as cons than pros, it’s important to understand the long term gains rather than short term pains.
When entering higher education, one of the first questions others ask is what major someone has selected. Picking a major is extremely difficult, especially if someone is traditionally entering college or university before they even reach their 20s. Asking a teenager to pick their life course is hard. It’s even harder when the pressure from the people surround someone continually ask for answers. College majors seem to be binary, yet there are so many things someone can do with their degree. As well, there is always the option to pursue postgraduate education.
A great way to begin the major selection process is to go undeclared for the first few semesters of college. By just taking general credit courses, it’s easy to test out varying subject areas and get a feel for what that field is like. Most college students aren’t exposed to many industries available to work in prior to schooling. This isn’t to say that one should just pick courses at random, instead choose a tailored course list that caters to the student’s future career interests. Taking general classes is a great way to understand the generalizations of many fields, become more well-rounded, and narrow the selection of major choices for a student.
Another way to learn more about a major is to talk with other students in those majors. Older students in the major can explain what jobs are available, what professors they liked and didn’t like, and how their overall experience was during college that selected area. Younger students can explain what it has been like in the beginning stages of the major, but generally juniors and seniors have much more insight and professional industry knowledge. As well, many graduate students are specializing as academic professionals and can explain their time working in the industry before attending graduate school. One of the most important groups of people to talk to are the professors in the major. Professors more than anyone have ample amounts of thorough academic and industry knowledge in their field. By setting up office hours with professors, they can give students a deep explanation of what would be offered to them and what would happen if they decided to pick that major.
Many colleges host academic conferences and talks where they bring in some of the best and most successful people in the industry to come speak to students about their ventures in their field. Some of these professionals come to present unique research that will alter the recent findings of their field and others come to inspire students and professors to stay dedicated in their chosen majors and areas of emphasis as it will prove to benefit the entire human population. These talks are generally free to students and can be extremely helpful when they are undecided and selecting a major.
A great way to meet students from all major areas is to join a student organization. Some colleges have student organizations that are specific to a certain major. Many students that join organizations get much more out of it by doing service projects. Some organizations take trips to gain exposure to certain things or fields, and others social clubs that are just for fun like club sports or the arts. Some student organizations, especially the STEM ones, offer students a place to do extra practice in their field. For example, a computer science club may offer special coding or server projects with VPS available to them. Whatever student organization an individual picks, it is just as important that they at least join one as this will allow them to gain friends, learn about other fields, and expose them professional teamwork.
It’s important to make friends and build professional relationships because in college students are often for the first time, away from their families. Their support system will help them handle stressful situations, learn and grow, and provide happiness. Humans are communal creatures and appreciate having others around. It’s natural to seek out a group of like and unlike minded individuals to create a diverse group of friends that will stick by a student’s side. Professors and advisors are also there to help students in college. Many campuses offer students who are struggling emotionally with counseling services. It’s crucial that students understand what is available to them while in college, especially since they are often the ones paying for it.
Byline – Anton Lucanus is the Director of Neliti. During his college years, he maintained a perfect GPA, was published in a top cancer journal, and received many of his country’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. Anton writes for The College Puzzle as a means to guide current students to achieve personal and academic goals.
BY AGNESS WALEWINDER
As mentioned in Part one, some web games have more of an impact on learning and brain development than others. However, not all web games come with taglines that let a player know if it’s educational or not. If someone cycles through what they believe to be educational web games, they will eventually come to learn the signs of a game that positively affects brain growth and learning skills.
Some of the learning abilities that the right web games can affect include:
- Enhance memory
Commonly, when a player begins a new game, there are new sets of instructions and how-to guides to remember throughout the game. As someone delves deeper into a game, there’s even more to stow away in a memory bank. Thus, web games, especially interactive RPGs, can help stimulate both short-term and long-term memories.
- Improve concentration and and attentiveness
Excellent web games are designed to capture and engage a player’s concentration and attention for long periods of time. This can help in classrooms too when students feel themselves becoming bored by the curriculum. Improved concentration and attentiveness are tantamount to discipline; hence, students are capable of focusing their attention for longer, regardless of their learning environments.
- Enhance the ability to multitask.
Time management web games often require players to be observant of multiple tasks at once. Yes, it can be a focal point for frustration at first, but as players learn more about the game, multitasking becomes easier. This is a valuable skill that can translate to real life in all aspects—not just school.
- Build problem-solving
Most web games require players to follow rules to survive and thrive in-game. Some games even have situations where a split-second decision could mean winning or losing the game. Focus has to be sharp, of course, but these split-second moments build problem-solving skills, as real-world dilemmas require the same amount of quickness and care.
- Improve organization and coordination
Hand-eye coordination is a big-time must-have for most web games, as is organization of the rules, instructions, missions, and objectives. Players have to organize and coordinate their moves to win, which often requires precision and strategy as well. Organization is good for classroom work, while coordination helps with homework, class projects, and juggling the curriculum from one class to another.
- Help brain function and neuron speed
Quick reflexes come from the brain telling someone’s body and mind to react quickly. Web games have moments of intensity, where players have to avoid obstacles, figure out puzzles, or focus their energies on saving characters and achieving missions. These require quick thinking that, over time, will expand brain function, making it easier for players to react in both game time and the real-world with enhanced neuron speeds.
Web Games Can Be More Than Learning Tools for Students
Movies and television shows portray college as one big party, where students play drinking games and skip classes without a care in the world. However, that’s why movies are fiction and real-world college is, well, reality. The average college student is exhausted, overworked, and strapped for time. Which is where web games could come in as more than convenient, fun learning tools.
Web games are meant to be enjoyed as much as they are meant to be educational. They can be excellent stress relievers, as students can lose themselves in the fun of problem-solving missions, puzzles, and connected objectives—all from the convenience of a dorm room, apartment, or anywhere, really, with a handheld gadget. Sure, players are still learning from these games, but sometimes it’s nice to relax and forget that you’re learning.
Are Web Games Bad for Brain Development?
According to psychologists, web games, like anything else, need to be enjoyed in moderation. Some web games are more educational and better for brain development than others. Violent web games often have a negative impact on the brain, as negative gameplay scenarios can cause stress that lessens any skills or learning abilities that would otherwise be helpful to students.
To get the most out of web game play, these same psychologists suggest limiting gameplay to an hour or two on a daily basis. Moderation is key to stimulating the brain just enough. Too much gameplay of anything can be overwhelming. These games should also fall in the educational or strategic categories, as these categories have the most to offer students seeking to improve their learning abilities.
Learning abilities grow when neurogenesis is stimulated. Neurogenesis is the growth of brand-new neurons in the brain, which is essential to growing new knowledge and making important connections between old information and new information in one’s mind.
Web games encourage cognitive processes. Cognition is the series of intellectual activities in the brain. It affects focus, intelligence, perception, memory, and reason. Ergo, a good web game will stimulate one, or all, of these cognitive activities, causing major brain developments that only enhance a student’s performance during various classes.
So, in short, no—web games aren’t inherently bad for brain development. The right web games played in moderation can actually help improve upon the cognitive processes of someone’s intellectual activity.
Agness Walewinder is a game geek by passion extremely interested in exploring connections between web games and their role in students’ learning abilities. She also works at Poki – a playground for kids of all games. This playful platform features plenty of games such as Fast Typer or Tunnel Rush that can help with improving concentration and attentiveness, build problem-solving skills and enhance players’ memory.
BY AGNESS WALEWINDER
Web games have soared in popularity over the last decade, gaining traction as stress relievers and time wasters for people of all ages. However, in a 2013 Stanford study of college panelists, students were observed bettering their educational tools and learning abilities through the regular play of web games. Most of these students never realized that they were learning or building their educational abilities; therefore, the realization that they were learning something never took the fun away from the web games.
There have been further studies, such as those documented in the Huffington Post in 2014, that suggest children of all ages, especially toddlers, can learn from web games. Toddler web games tend to be more directly educational with focused themes on colors, numbers, alphabet letters, and other need-to-know elements.
College students are often overwhelmed with their studies, so downtime is cherished and commonly spent vegging out in front of the latest gadgets. That said, web games are popular throughout college campuses, especially action or strategy games that require concentration and patience. These kinds of games allow students to leave their real-world dilemmas behind, choosing instead to focus on the make-believe missions and objectives on the screen.
With the introduction of these insightful studies, hundreds of new web games are released on an annual basis on platforms like Poki. This game platform actually features a category of educational games, like the Geography Game, Fast Typer, and Tunnel Rush.
Tunnel Rush is an indirectly educational web game that sends gamers hurtling through a colorful warp zone of moving obstacles. The longer a player survives, the faster the game gets, and the more challenging the obstacles become. It’s the sci-fi equivalent of dodgeball on the interwebs, which teaches players how to avoid dangers while concentrating on reaching a new, safer destination.
IMAGE 3: Tunnel Rush – a game that will make you think and get more strategic.
Additionally, the obstacles change with every gameplay, keeping players on their proverbial toes to keep minds keen and reactions sharp.
Student Classes Vs. Web Game Teachings: How Do These Skills Help in the Real World?
The whole point of going to school is to learn and grow as individuals who can then contribute in a well-rounded way to our communities and society. While some student classes are for fun, in the same way that some web games are for fun, there is always something to be learned in both, regardless of how subtle those educational elements are.
Cooking and baking classes, especially in college, help students learn the basics of preparing something sustainable and delicious to either further their careers in the dining industry, provide for themselves and future families, or both. In high school, you can find cooking and baking classes in Home Economics, since nourishing oneself is essential to becoming an adult.
Coincidentally, there are cooking and baking games that teach both time management and the importance of preparation. Educational cooking games usually ask players to piece together a recipe, in which case organization skills are a must. Ergo, a player learns how to organize their ingredients, put together a recipe by following directions, and manage time to ensure a meal comes out perfectly. While all gamers could benefit from these sorts of web games, young players have the advantage of learning kitchen safety, such as using mitts to retrieve dishes from the oven. Most web games geared towards younger crowds encourage parental supervision and interaction.
Perhaps one of the best examples of the correlation between web games and student classes would be basic study skills. During important tests, such as the SAT in high school or mid-term exams throughout college, patience, concentration, determination, and focus are required. In one way or another, almost every web game one could play requires the aforementioned skills. Some are subtle in their mastery of these skills, while others offer a direct approach of mini games and specific objectives that require players to perfect these skills to progress through levels and complete a game.
Another example would be in interactions. Various web games can be played with multiple players from around the world. Just like class projects, these games ask players to cooperate to accomplish missions, thus honing interactive skills, like basic communication and strategic group thinking.
Agness Walewinder is a game geek by passion extremely interested in exploring connections between web games and their role in students’ learning abilities. She also works at Poki- a playground for kids of all games. This playful platform features plenty of games such as Fast Typer or Tunnel Rush that can help with improving concentration and enhance players memory.