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Scaffolding Learning in Chess and Life

Sep 14, 2016
Coach 1270

“Learning is experience,” said Albert Einstein, the greatest genius of our time, “everything else is just information.”

I couldn’t help thinking of the brilliant scientist’s words the other day, as a friend’s three year-old daughter beat him at Wii table-tennis and then picked up a proper paddle and proceeded to play the game for real. And people say video games are useless!


              Kids learn less by thinking and more by doing.


We all want our children to learn effectively, and technology provides an excellent means to this end. Let’s face it: kids learn less by thinking and more by doing. Explaining the rules of table-tennis is never as effective as giving a child a paddle. As parents and teachers, it’s our responsibility to provide them with tools to help them actively learn.

Educational psychologists call this ‘scaffolding’, and done correctly it provides pointers in the right direction, helps children find alternative ways to solve problems, enables them to reflect on what they have learned, and most importantly, makes the learning process rewarding.

At learning chess is fun. Students solve chess puzzles to help their side win a tug-of-war, or storm a castle. Chessity introduces students to chess through a series of enjoyable and challenging mini-games which are designed to enhance understanding of the pieces and their movements, and so lowers the threshold for effective learning.

This technology not only engages students and gives them the tools to help them learn effectively, but it provides instant feedback on the choices they make, so they can figure out pretty quickly what the right move is. Einstein would have approved.

 chess improves fluid intelligence, spatial abilities, and                                         memory, concentration and reading skills.

Researchers into the value of chess in broader educational contexts in Venezuela, Canada, the U.S. and Europe have consistently come to the same conclusions: chess improves fluid intelligence, spatial abilities, and memory, concentration and reading skills. What’s more, a learning environment organized around games has a positive effect on students’ attitudes toward learning, which acts as a facilitator of cognitive achievement (I know what you’re thinking – we need games for math and science too!).

Utilizing a unique approach to teaching and improving chess skills, Chessity has given students the chance not only to better their chess, but to enhance their ability to remember information and problem solve in other contexts as well (and to have fun doing it). Chessity presents children with the chance to scaffold their learning process and get better at chess while they focus on winning a tug-of-war – a triple win.

The fact is that with advances in internet technology, ‘learning by doing’ has never been easier. What’s more, all you need is a computer and a comfortable place to sit, and you can have fun learning alongside your child (or in my case, nephew, who is the only reason our side wins the tug-of-war). Finally, it must be said that the cost-benefit analyses of using the site always works out in your favour. Weighed aginst the few minutes it takes to sign up for a free membership, the potential gains could be more valuable than you can imagine.

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jspappas_play 00:32 - 26 Sep 2014
We have a game to help with math. It's chess. My high school algebra teacher and my college trig professor both recommended chess to help with math. They said the same kind of thinking is required in chess as in solving equations.
carlthomen 13:44 - 10 Oct 2014
Hi Jspappas

We've found some excellent research on the benefits of chess in broader educational contexts - maths especially. There is a fantastic summary of that research here:

In other words, if you're doing maths (or anything really) keep playing chess :-)

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