Active Gaming combines the use of interactive technology and video based gaming with physical activity; the users are able to participate in various types of games while getting physically active. It also has the educational aspect in it that is very profound. This is possible through added modules and software to provide a good learning and physical activity environment. Many researchers have found that physical activities increase brain activity in both children and adults. It came into people’s attention at the Consumer Electronics Show when Bill Gates launched the Exertris Interactive Gaming bike in the year 2003.
Types of Exergames/ Active Gaming
- Exergames / Active games
Generally, exergames are technology driven activities that require a screen to be able to fully engage the users in the activity. It offers muscle strengthening workouts, balance and stretching games, aerobics and dancing, martial arts and stimulating recreational activities like skiing, golf among others. The Wii Aerobics, a package that comes with such games gives one workout the same as walking 3 miles per hour. This provides a moderate intensity activity that one can perform daily. Most organizations are now incorporating these games in their facilities to improve performance of the staff.
- Interactive Fitness Activities
This is the use of technology for cardiovascular activities. The video games and computers and other handheld devices gives the participants an opportunity to initiate real-life sports moves whereas their actions go in hand with those in the screen or computer monitor since the animated characters provides a virtual reality. Other names used for this application includes brain fitness and e-games. This technology is able to determine speed of movement, calories burned, as well as the amount of pressure exerted through the muscles. This gives a proper guide to the users on how to maintain a good posture and correct execution of training moves. It was first marketed to children but in the recent past, it has gained a lot of popularity and has now popular among all age groups and classes.
Tennis, bowling, and bowling are among the most common interactive games used. Both aerobic and anaerobic video games are on sale in the market depending on the preferences of the users. The games range from low to high intensity and therefore can cater for a variety levels. The games in this category are not limited so long they involve some form of interaction between the participant and the device.
- Active learning games
It happens when students are given the opportunity to take a more interactive relationship with the subject matter of their course, thereby encouraging them to generate knowledge rather than just being passive recipients. This involves anything right from listening practices that can help students to absorb whatever they hear, short writing exercises whereby students react to lecture materials, to complex group exercises and be able to apply the same in their own lives or in solving some problems.
Cooperative learning is a subset of active learning that allows the students in groups of three or more rather than letting them to work alone or in pairs. It makes use of more formally
structured groups of students who are assigned complex tasks, like multiple-step questions, research projects, or even presentations. Another type I collaborative learning which refers to classroom strategies where the instructor and the students are treated equally to work together. For instance, designing the exercises, choosing texts, and presenting research materials to the class. It is a modernized method that moves from the known tradition than merely utilizing techniques targeted at enhancing student retention of the material presented to the class.
If not well incorporated the active learning techniques may pose some difficulties to both instructors and the students because it is composed of some instructions. The teacher must surrender the classroom control and authority to the students and becomes a facilitator thereby increasing student’s responsibility for what they learn and how they do it. In order to incorporate it therefore, students need to act. Some things to do include; allowing students to think about the topic, giving them an opportunity to ask unanswered questions, writing activities, brainstorming, engaging them in games and debates and finally allowing them to undertake a case study.
Uses of Exergaming
Rehabilitation is a psychological activity of restoring someone for instance, under the influence of drugs and they cannot control their lives back to their normal health. Most of these people are hopeless and frustrated about life and may not be willing to engage in any discussion or learning process. In order to attract their attention, psychologists use exergaming technique to get an opportunity to engage them in dialogues and stimulate them to solve their own problems. Exergaming activities like the ones used in active gaming are very efficient in helping people overcome certain challenges in life for they pass some important information in an interesting manner. Given that, these games are interesting and involving their minds become active and one does not become idle or is tempted to engage in any unlawful act.
- Physical Education
Exergaming provides good information for facilitators, trainers, psychologists and every academician to effectively perform their duties of passing on knowledge. These games are used for teaching purposes in most learning institutions because they are rich in information concerning almost all the physical games that involves both the mind and the physical body. For students who take physical education as a career, exagaming is an interesting area to research on for it consists of almost all the games turned into digital format while still serving their original purposes. The generations to come may also get the knowledge of the same from recorded videos, books, and people in the field.
These activities allow individuals to spend their time well while they are in have a day off from work or a holiday. It gives one an opportunity to spend free time doing constructive activities like playing table tennis, swimming, or other forms of sport. This is critical because it is during such free time that people tend to engage in criminal acts especially when they have no plan of how to spend their time and to add on that there is no activity to participate. Tourists for instance may use these techniques to enjoy the holiday trip in a special way.
Here it is important to note that most exergaming activities are enjoyable and one cannot get easily bored with them. Most of the people spent their free time playing these games just for pleasure and personal satisfaction to relax their minds bodies. This is especially important after a long day and stress at work or school. It is healthy for one to undertake such constructive activities while away from daily chores. Exergaming is therefore a very important part of human life and line of programs that cannot be ignored because by observing they may make many people avoid so many lifestyle diseases, enjoy learning, and even live a better life.
Thomas, Y. (2007). Fundamentals of Recreation, (2nd ed). Harpers & Row, Library of Congress.
Smith, R (2006). "Osteoporosis and physical activity". Acta medica Scandinavica. Supplementum. New York: Nerd Press.
Siebert, E., Caprio, M. & Lyda C, (1997).Effective Teaching and Course Management for University and College Teachers. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt Publishing.