In these days of high-speed Internet and search engines, it is straightforward to become lax in learning. This is true at every age and every level of education. Modern technology has taken its toll on people’s ability to think cognitively, making it more difficult for the younger generations to learn core concepts that are was for their parents or grandparents.
That same technology can also hold the solution to the problem for many, especially college-age students. Today, we would like to take a look at a few examples of simple, structured games and game-based websites that are helping to teach people the cognitive skills they so desperately need to develop.
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What is Cognitive Thinking?
According to the education website LearningRx, “Cognitive thinking refers to the use of mental activities and skills to perform tasks such as learning, reasoning, understanding, remembering, paying attention, and more.” Any teacher reading this article knows firsthand that every item in that list can be a challenge even for the most exceptional of students.
With so many distractions vying for their attention, cognitive thinking has become far less intuitive and much more a learned process. As promised, here are a few games that teachers and students can utilize to develop and teach critical cognitive thinking skills.
Not only is Sudoku a great tool for developing cognitive thinking ability, it can be downright addictive. To “win” the game, the player is tasked with looking multiple steps ahead and determining correct placement of numbers in a grid. The numbers 1-9 appear inclusively on both vertical and horizontal axes.
The game also teaches concepts like deductive reasoning and cause and effect. The best strategy, especially for more difficult puzzles, is to test the waters and tentatively plug in numbers until the correct placement of each becomes clear. Short-term memory and concentration are key areas of cognitive thinking that Sudoku helps develop. Sudoku puzzles vary in difficulty and can be found all over the Web, as well as in print.
Crosswords help your brain to exercise its cognitive functions as well as expand your vocabulary. While some people are just naturally talented when it comes to crossword puzzles, most of us need a little help poring over the often very ambiguous clues that hint at the right words.
Learning how to interpret those ambiguities and find the right words to fit the puzzle are classic cognitive skills. The more time you spend on crosswords, the more you understand about words and their associations with other words, concepts, and ideas.
Cryptograms use ciphers to encrypt small strings of text. While classic ciphers can be very difficult to interpret and decode, cryptograms are designed to be decoded mostly by hand. In most cases, the letters in the cryptogram replace other letters forming words that only make sense once the player cracks the code.
In order to solve the puzzle, the player must decode the cypher and uncover the original lettering. Cryptograms have been a favorite game published in various periodicals long before there was ever any concept of an Internet, but they can be found in numerous places online for easy use in the classroom, too.
These are just three classic examples of games that teach cognitive development. Whether you are a student doing research or looking for good brain game resources or a teacher or professor who is looking to enhance the classroom experience, today’s message was for you. We encourage you to click on the links and explore each of the above games and their benefits a little more.