A look at the Usefulness of Science Games at Gamequariumcom

In general, I would not spend a lot of time at gamequarium.com if my desire was to play science games; the homepage’s background, link colors, graphic-following cursor, and ad-space assaults the eyes.

Science games are listed under the “Gamequarium (Grades 3-6)” section. The first link that I chose was “Space Games” and the first link on that page was “Solar System Flashcards” which took me to a domain parking location which initiated a series of ads and pop-ups. This is not useful, nor conducive to learning and especially not suitable for children. The next few links that I tried directed me to other sites, broken links, or other child-science portals.

I was pretty irritated with the frequency of broken links; or out-dated links that did go to the target site, but had been moved on that site. The links that did work had little relevant information so that I could determine more about the usefulness of it. For example, a link titled “Basic Cell Structures, Functions, and Processes” took me to a test of cellular biology; this was not a site I would expect to learn and experience from, but one that would quiz me on my current knowledge of a subject.

Reading the history of gamequarium, the site was designed with the best intentions, but best intentions are often the root of many problems. I would suggest a few things for the web page owner:
-Simplify the graphics! We all like pretty pictures, but when there is competing images, fonts, etc, it confuses the web site visitor
-Organize links by source web sites; this might help with the maintenance of out of date links
-Let me know what the link might entail; will I have to load additional software, will there be pop-ups (especially useful for parents monitoring their child’s web usage)
-Maintain links
-If one link is a quiz; is there another link that will teach

Let me suggest a few things for the visitor:
-Review links prior to your child using one
-Submit broken links to the website owner
-Find another site for science games

A science or game site designed for school age children must be well maintained. Links must be kept up to date in order to alleviate parental concerns about inappropriate links coming up. If the website owner is not in command of their own links, the usefulness and value of that site are immediately put into question. Additionally, this may drive parents away from using web sites as a way to assist their child’s learning; it may be far easier to read a book for content than to review a website for content. This is one of the reasons why there is a reluctance to rely on the Internet for information which is terribly sad as this is a medium available to everyone.