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Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

The Ways in which Computer Applications are applied in the fields of Education and Sports/Gaming

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the course COMPUTER APLICATION & APPRECIATION (ITT102)

Lecturer: Mr. Lyndel McDonald University College of the Caribbean

June 14, 2011

Audreen Moore 20084716

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

Perhaps in Abrahams time, it was beyond human imagination for machines to record ones voice, for example. Today, however, it is difficult to imagine life without technology no air conditioner, no computer, and no smart phone simply impossible! Modern computer applications offer many advantages and opportunities to various industries; without them, many large problems would be unsolvable.

This discussion seeks to describe some of the ways in which computer applications and their related devices are applied in the education and games/sports industry. The discussion will further highlight some of the dangers involved.

In order for the reader to understand the discussion at hand, certain key concepts must first be defined. To start with, Allan W. James (1990) defines a computer is an electronic device that manipulates information or "data." It has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data. Computers are used to type documents, send email, and surf the Internet. They can also be used to handle spreadsheets, accounting, database management, presentations, games, and more.

A computer application (also called a software program) is usually used to make these processes possible. A computer application may be defined as software designed to make the job of the user easier. Examples include word processors, internet browsers, spread sheets, and media applications (windows media player).

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

Computers are being used with increased frequency and success in schools at all grade levels and in all subject areas, as well as for special education, adult literacy programs, college/university tutorials, etc.

When we buy a computer, we usually get it with certain basic programs such as Microsoft Office Word, Publisher, Excel, etc. These are sometimes referred to as general computer applications. Schools can use these to develop different communication media. With Microsoft Word and other word processors, school administrators and departments can operate more efficiently and effectively. The most popular examples of this type of software are MS-Word, WordPad, Notepad and some other text editors. Word processors allow users to make and edit numerous documents that are used in schools such as letters, memos, award certificates (for student recognition), typing and storing lesson plans, etc.

Schools can also use database applications. Database is a structured collection of data. A computer database relies on database software to organize the data and enable the database users to achieve database operations. Database software allows the users to store and retrieve data from databases. Examples are Oracle, MS-Access, etc. These are ideal for maintaining an information system in the school. Administrators need to record and, from time to time, maintain updates of employee (academic staff, ancillary staff and administrative staff) information. Database applications are also useful for maintaining students records. Storing on paper is no longer adequate as files can easily be displaced, ink may fade over time or records can be destroyed by water or fire, etc. However, when students records are stored on the database, records are securely stored without the threat of inaccessibility of the files when they are needed.

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

Files are easily retrieved and so if, for example, a student who left The Queens School in 2001 requests a recommendation or transcript from the school in 2013, the information necessary to honour this request is readily available.

Fig. 1 below shows options available to business users in Ms Access: They can file records and track their assets, can store and edit contact information, they can maintain a calendar of events, etc.

Fig. 1: Menu options in Ms Access (Database Application Software.

Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Apple Numbers are some examples of spreadsheet software. Spreadsheet software allows users to perform calculations. They simulate paper worksheets by displaying multiple cells that make up a grid. Many educators will find these computer applications very useful in recording students grades, for example. With the correct formula applied, Ms Excel will automatically generate students individual average and group average. That lessens the teachers task of having to enter all grades then calculate individual and class average. Also

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

because editing is enabled, adjustments to individual scores are met with automatic adjustment of the averages. So no manual calculations are done. Fig. 2 below shows an example of how educators can use Ms Excel, a database application to develop and present a comparative record of student performance over a given period.

Fig. 2: Tally Sheet prepared in Ms. Excel

Multimedia Software allows the users to create and play audio and video media. They are capable of playing media files. Audio converters, players, burners, video encoders and decoders are some forms of multimedia software. Examples of this type of software include Real Player and Windows Media Player. These are wonderful applications that are instrumental in the delivery of lessons for various reasons.

One reason to implement multimedia in the classroom is because it is engaging. Multimedia allows us to make our lessons entertaining, therefore grabbing the attention of our students. Secondly, it allows us to provide differentiated instruction. Having different ways to present information to our students allows teachers to meet the needs of all students. The third reason is that multimedia is a great way to make sure our lessons are organized. There are many tools that we can use to help organize our presentation, therefore making it easier to understand. Another reason is that we are exposing our students to the real world. Our students are going to be

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

required to use multimedia in their jobs one day and by exposing them at an early age we are preparing them for the future. Finally, multi-media can enhance concepts that are not as interesting as others. There are many ways that teachers can use multi-media to turn a not so interesting topic into something the students are willing to learn.

The software that is used to display information in the form of a slide show is known as presentation software. This type of software includes three functions, namely, editing that allows insertion and formatting of text, methods to include graphics in the text and a functionality of executing the slide shows. Microsoft PowerPoint is the best example of presentation software.

This kind of software, like the multi-media applications, also appeals to students attention and caters to their different learning styles. With PowerPoint, presenters can import sound clips, video clips, image files, and alphabetic text in creative ways that encourage active learning. It also has an audio-recording tool that (with a microphone) allows the teacher to pre-record her accompanying statements. In that way, she now has time to give individual attention and also to make the lesson student-centered and not focused on him, the teacher. With this same feature, students can sharpen their oral presentations by recording their voices and setting the timer feature to automatically advance slides. When students use the audio capabilities of PowerPoint, they can rehearse, record multiple versions, and practice their speaking skills, as well.

Once students have completed their presentations, there are several ways their work can be shared. If they have a class blog or access to a discussion forum, students can upload for viewing by others when they have time. The teacher also has the option of setting up a computer as part

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

of a learning center. As students rotate through the center, they can view and listen to the PowerPoint, they post their comments on the blog. PowerPoints can also be set to run continuously using the timer and looping options. If the teacher has access to five or six computers in the classroom, students can view several shows by moving from one to the next.

To help students keep track of time spent on different tasks in the classroom, the teacher can create a slide with each task typed using bullets. By animating text and using the timer, each step of the task can be greyed out as students should have it completed (Rocklin, 2001).

Andrew (2009) suggests some additional alternatives for presentation tools in the classroom. Presentation software need not automatically lead to teacher-centered lectures (which do have a place as an important source of information in the classroom). Similarly, students do not need to present every PowerPoint they create to the entire class. In addition, presentation software offers additional opportunities for sharing student work with other students and with parents.

It is most evident, thus, that application software have made it possible for users to interact with the computer system and create amazing things. The above is therefore, not an all-encompassing show of the many different ways computer applications can be used to enhance the teaching and learning process. However, at this point, it must certainly leave no doubt in the mind of the reader that computer applications are must-haves in schools today.

One might argue about the cost of acquiring the software. Whilst many of these may be expensive to purchase, when we compare the costs with the myriad of benefits, we find that it is

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

worth the dollar. Besides, the general applications such as Microsoft Office are usually preloaded on a new computer system so schools do not need to consider purchasing these applications once they already have them loaded.

Like the education sector, the sports and gaming industry also finds that computer applications are vital in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of sporting games as well as heightening the intrigue of game lovers.

Spectators who watch a game on their TV from home, at different points in a game can see replays and see a throw, for example, from several different angles. The players actions are video-taped, and then transferred to a computer. Specialized software applications analyze the images. The software measures the exact angle at which the player is holding his/her arms and legs. The speed and efficiency of each body movement is measured. This process, according to Glencoe (2007), is called motion analysis. Quintic is one such software used to bring life to the game for viewers.

Fig. 3: Comparison of racing lines and posture of skiers, using the Quintic Software.

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games

With Quintic and other similar software, one motion of the player can be compared with another. As such, sports analysers and coaches, etc can see how one movement affects the results as opposed to another move. Quintic can also measure motions such as pitching or hitting during an actual game. Coaches can therefore give immediate feedback to his players.

These computer applications can also be used to compare the movements of two different players simultaneously. So coaches and other interests group can determine why different players hit the ball differently.

There are also computer applications that help coaches to keep track of exactly where each pitch crosses the plate in a game of softball, for example. As Glencoe posits, a radar gun can be attached to the computer to measure a pitchs speed. The software stores the information for later retrieval and analysis of the players speed. With this software, the coach can more effectively help his players to improve.

Sports use an enormous amount of statistics team statistics and individual statistics. Without computer applications that exist now, it would be a mammoth task to keep these statistics up-todate. Spreadsheet applications like Ms Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Apple Numbers are built for storing and manipulating numbers. As such, managers and coaches find these applications very useful, as they do not only store game scores, but can be used to find the average of a list of players on a team, can view the individual player with the highest or lowest scores, etc. Hence, detailed statistical analysis is easy.

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games


Sports organizers also provide score-boards and giant screens that are usually controlled by an entire group of computers. Each computer provides the scoreboard with different information. One computer may keep track of statistics on specific players, while another may supply commercials from sponsors of the event.

These giant screens can also be used for educational purposes. Glencoe points out that in 2000, the University of Tennessees athletics and physics departments joined together to create a group of 60 second videos. These videos were shown on the schools Jumbotron during home games. The purpose was to teach fans about the science of football. This, they found, was a fun way to join together sports and education.

There are simulation software that are used in sports as well. In swimming, training includes learning how the position of arms and the type of stroke can affect your ability to move smoothly in the water through simulation software. Swimming Cat and Kool Swimming Pool are two specialized software that can be used to simulate swimming action. The software copies the way water flows around parts of the swimmers body (the arms, the hands). The swimmers aim, as Glencoe notes, is to move through the water as smoothly as possible. Water turbulence, as it is referred to in sports to mean hard to predict variation in motion of the water, can slow down a player. However, the application can be used to change the position of the swimmers hands and feet and watch how best each position works against the turbulence. As such, coaches can advise their swimmers on the best swimming strokes, etc.

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games


Simulation software has also been used to design racing yachts. It is integral in determining how to design the boats hull for the fastest movement with the least amount of resistance from the water.

During winter events, there is a microchip installed in a strap placed around the ankle of a skier to keep track of his movement along the vast snowy racetrack. This also allows the judges and officials to easily monitor the progress of the games even from several kilometres away, just through the data transmitted to a computer screen.

Computer games and multimedia development have caught the fancy of many, especially young adults and children. Video games are basically applications which are based on user inputs. PSP games with cartridges, DVD-powered games sometimes enhanced by 3-D effects make these games even more appealing. Also, with the boom of the cellular phone era, more games are being developed for the cell phone. Smart-phone users can download game applications directly to their phone.

With these computer games, many parents find them to be good ways of keeping their children occupied. Patricia Greenfield (1983) finds video games contributing to children's spatial skills and ability to do dynamic parallel processing -- keep track of many changing events at the same time. As such, it is instrumental in their cognitive development.

Because the pace of many games is set by the machine, some analysts see them as socializing children into labor discipline -- learning to enjoy "work" at controlled paces in fixed

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games


environments defined by computers. Compared to television, video games do give the player some control over the situation, even though the rules are set by the machine.

Social psychologists worry more about the possibility that video games reduce children's opportunities to engage in social interactions with their peers. Psychologist Robert S. Gable (1981) argues that the video games are teaching young people technical skills in a way more suitable to a computer-based society. He is of the view that it reduces the effectiveness of the family in teaching social skills to their children as there is less interaction among family members. While the characteristics of computer games which allow players to interact quickly with complex arrangements of information certainly introduce children to the human/computer interface, the crucial issue is the degree to which computerized recreation distances human players from experiencing physical and social interactions. Against the positive effects of children exercising imagination and control via the computer must be balanced the dangers of substituting mastery over unreal computer environments for games which involve "real world" interactions. For it is through social interactions with one another that children are first socialized for decision-making in a democratic society.

With all the wonderful ways in which we benefit from the use of these computer applications and their associated devices, there are also concerns that must be considered. One drawback that some may find with heavy reliance on computers is the risk of computers making peoples jobs obsolete, hence reducing their earning power. Whilst it stands as a genuine concern, we need to consider that computers do only what they are commanded to do. As such, someone will always be needed to monitor operations. In essence, while it has in fact made some jobs redundant, the

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games


computer has also created new jobs (e.g. Software programming, computer repairs, etc) and changed the way people do their job (e.g. a coach, teacher, accountant, etc), making work a more efficient and effective engagement.

Concerns of the loss of data are addressed by the availability of various means of storing and backing up computer files. There are even internet-based back-up systems that ensure that even when your computer crashes, you can still access important data from any computer connected to the internet. As previously alluded to, computer applications, especially specialized or integrated software can sometimes be very costly. However, many organizations find that software purchase is a good investment as it improves the companys efficiency and effectiveness, further boosting production and increasing profitability. Coaches are better able to make informed decisions about their players and so, despite the cost of the software, his team is more likely to excel, which is the ultimate aim of a coaching team for the team to do well.

The above presentation does not in the least cover the entirety of the different computer applications that may be applied in the fields of education and sports/gaming. However, it serves to open the readers mind to the effectiveness of computer applications in these and other industries. It is the writers hope that people will grasp the opportunity to maximize their potential at work by using the right applications that gets the job done.

Computer Applications & Education, Sports/Games



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The Use of Computers in Sports