Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Improve Your Child's Expressive Language Skills through Video Games

If you’re the parent of a school-age child, then you’ve already tackled that all-encompassing, addictive activity known as video games.Perhaps you’ve tried limiting the amount of time your child spends in playing them, or maybe you’ve gone full court and outlawed all but the most innocuous of games.
Either way, as a parent of a child with weak language development,you’ve seen your child stare at a video screen, reduced to mere grunts and one-word exclamations for inordinate periods of time.

Pretty frightening after all those hours of speech therapy, right?

If so, you’ll be relieved to learn that you can use video games to help improve your child’s expressive language skills. It’s simple, requires no extra materials other than your child’s favorite video game, and can be used with children and teenagers.

Afterwards, your child will be able to upload the presentation to any number of sites in order to share it with fellow gamers.

How to Play:

1) Explain to your child that they are going to create a game guide for other kids on how to play their favorite video game.

Younger children might choose to make a basic guide, while older children and teenagers can choose to make a walkthrough, or an “expert” or guru guide.

2) Let your child decide what format her presentation will be in. She can choose to make a video, a podcast, or a PowerPoint presentation. If she chooses to make a video, she can use a screen capture program such as Camtasia to record what is seen on the computer screen.

If your child chooses to make a podcast or other audio recording, there are many free programs she can use to audit their recording. Audacity is one such program that is both free and of high quality.

PowerPoint presentations can include screenshots (use the “print screen” button on your keyboard and crop out the unnecessary stuff), but you can also add music (try Musicloops for free music) to spice things up.

3) Help your child sketch out a basic outline for their presentation.

Explain to them that in order to be effective, it minimally needs to include the following elements:

•Goal of the game

•Basic explanation of what you need to do on each level

•Tips and hints Have your child first create each section individually as a rough draft; they can put the parts together later.

4) Next, have your child turn on the video game. They will create material as they play, so they will have a better idea of what they need to write.

If they can’t pause the game after each level, then let them play the game once through and then write material for each section immediately afterwards.

Younger children might need you to help them: ask them questions about the game, and write down their answers (if they have difficulty writing) or give them time to write the answers on their own.

5) Help your child revise and edit each section. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation; let spell check do that for your child. You are more concerned with your child’s ability to give over information in a clear, fairly concise manner.

That means your child should make sure that someone who is a complete newbie to the game should be able to understand their guide.

Encourage them to show it to a family member or a friend (if they’re feeling brave) who is not familiar with the game, explaining that this is what everyone who creates a how-to guide does before they publish their work.

6) Create the final product. If your child is making a PPT presentation, she can write everything out on slides, taking screenshots when necessary.

She should first write it out, taking the screenshots afterwards; she might need your help with this, as it requires quick hands and some pasting and cropping.

If your child is creating a video, he now has a good idea of a script. He needn’t memorize it; since he’s written it and he’s of course familiar with the game, it merely acts as a prompt for him to ensure he’s said everything he should say.

7) Share it with the world. The best part of creating this guide is sharing it with other game fans. Your child can post it on gamer sites, or he can upload it to the following free sites:

•Video: Your child can upload to just YouTube, or he can use TubeMogul or Traffic Geyser to upload the video to multiple sites. •PowerPoint Presentation: Your child can submit their PPT to these sites for free: Slideshare, Slideboom, Authorstream, and Slideburner.

You can also easily turn their PPT into a PDF using PrimoPDF, which is free. You can then submit the PDF version to these sites: Calameo, Butterfly,Yudu,Esnips,and Scribd.

•Podcast or audio presentation: Submit to these sites for free: podcast.com, iTunes, dayo, and podcastalley.

•Written report: Since your child’s report will be very similar to a step-by-step tutorial, your child can submit it to these sites for free: e-how.com, tutorialized.com,Good-Tutorials.com, and Designm.ag.

Whichever site your child chooses to submit their guide, they can use Pingler and SocialMarker to submit the URL of their product to dozens of social bookmarking sites.

Both are free and will help their guide get noticed, hopefully sending traffic from other like-minded gamers.

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