Importance of Spices in Food

Indian food is loved world over by people of different nationalities. What makes it so popular is the way it is cooked; cooking Indian cuisines is nothing less than an art. It requires the right ingredients chopped and sautéed over fire and then cooked on a simmering flame with the right amount of herbs and spices. Indian food is not just rich in taste but also has an aroma that can whip up anyone’s appetite. The aroma in the food comes from spices which are used in every Indian household for centuries. They are an integral part of every dish and are loaded not just with flavors but also health benefits. Not many are aware that the reason why Indian food apart from being extremely delicious is also very healthy is because of the spices and herbs in it that have therapeutic health benefits. Some of the beneficial uses of spices and herbs used in everyday dishes are:

1) Turmeric: Turmeric has been used for centuries not just in food to give it a yellow texture but also by Ayurvedic doctors for its healing properties. Turmeric when used in food can retain the beta-carotene in certain foods. A main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a strong antioxidant and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Recent studies have also shown that turmeric is helpful in correcting depression symptoms. Due to its strong anti – inflammatory qualities it is highly beneficial to Arthritis patients and unlike medications, it doesn’t pose any threat to liver and other organs. Its most widely accepted property though is its function as a painkiller.

2) Cinnamon: Another commonly used ingredient in Indian household, cinnamon is also used in a variety of other global dishes. These bark shaped spices have a lot of medical benefits. They are very useful for those suffering from diabetes as they can lower fasting blood glucose and reduce cholesterol. Cinnamon also has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. In ancient times when there was no safe way to store food for a longer period of time and food could get easily spoiled, recipes were flavored with this particular spice. Even in case of common cough and cold, having cinnamon tea can be very comforting and healing.

3) Mustard Seed: They are culinary oil seeds that apart from enhancing the taste of a dish also have a lot of health benefits. The magnesium content in mustard reduces migraine and helps relieve the tormenting pain. Including mustard seeds in your dishes can also relieve you of respiratory congestion; it is also beneficial for asthma patients.

Indian food contains the above and many other spices and herbs that are included in everyday food. This makes it one of the most healthiest foods available.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Importance of Spices in Food

Digital Games And Kids – A Different Perspective

The “Wikipedia problem” which means children turning to internet for readymade answers is the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. There are almost equal numbers of teachers who consider technology to be a solution as much as a problem. While a common belief is that technology is hindering the students’ capacity to think and analyze, there is also a strong opinion in favor of video games and digital gadgets’ ability to engage students and enhance learning by using more than one sensory stimulators. In spite of the growing concern about the students’ deteriorating attention spans, institutions are incorporating them in the process of classroom learning.

Children are inherently inquisitive creatures. They have a curiosity to discover new things and learn by way of discovering and experimenting even before they are subjected to methods of formal education such as reading or writing. Science is a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The National Science Education Standards emphasize that “science education needs to give students three kinds of scientific skills and understandings. Students need to learn the principles and concepts of science, acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, and understand the nature of science as a particular form of human endeavor. Students therefore need to be able to devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas, and they need to understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful. Studies show that students are much more likely to understand and retain the concepts that they have learned this way “. Hence, it becomes imperative to engage children in science education at an early stage.

Digital games are more capable to gain students’ interests and attention than other conventional means of imparting education in a classroom. However, some educationists also regard them as culprits of exponential decline in the attention span in children. The next sections in this article discuss the involvement of children in games in the tech age, types of games available in the market and the impact of digital gaming as learning aids in classrooms.

Gaming and the New Age Kids

Digital technology has expanded the horizons of video gaming in the modern world. Kids are subjected to far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over half a century back. Involvement of kids in digital gaming is a result of many significant changes in the lifestyle and culture of the modern society. Easy accessibility of technology, dispensable income due to dual income families and lack of infrastructure for outdoor activities in many cities are some major contributors in making screen games an important part of the children’s’ lives. A study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) found that only 20 percent of the census blocks are within half a mile of a block boundary. Also, the effect of peer pressure cannot be undermined in these times of social networking.

The digital gaming market is one of the fastest growing segments of the global entertainment industry. US is witnessing unprecedented penetration of digital games amongst youngsters. In the US, 97% of the teens play some type of game on a regular basis. In India, the gaming market has grown manifold in the last few years. Hence, it is imperative that educationists are continuously contemplating the use of digital gaming as a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions are also employing innovative ways to leverage the digital advantage for enhancing the learning experience at schools.

What are Digital Games?

There is no concrete definition of games as it may vary with an individual’s preference and profession. Games can be defined as a “system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, which result in a quantifiable outcome”. Technology and digitization add new dimensions to games where simulations, interactivity, augmented reality, alternative reality, collective intelligence and sensory stimulators such as sound and visual effects. Digital games are also characterized by their portability and limitless accessibility.

Role-playing games, simulation games and puzzles are some of the most popular digital games. In role-playing games, the player enacts the role of a particular character in a virtual world moving from one level to the other based on the outcome of the earlier level. RPGs can be single player such as the dungeons and dragons from earlier days of gaming or multi-player games such as Diablo III, Xenoblade, Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Mass Effect 3. MMORPG or the Massive Multiple Online Role-Playing Games are an extension of the RPGs where large number of players interacts in an online virtual world. Simulation games create realistic situations in virtual worlds. The outcome will depend on the player’s decision-making and responsiveness and will be closely similar to what may happen in a real world in the same situation. Widely used in training and analysis, simulation games are also popular due to their unpredictable and personalized outcomes. Flight Simulator X, Live for Speed (LFS) and Need for Speed have been extremely popular simulation games for a long time. Puzzles genre of digital games involves problem solving and analysis with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the nature of the game. Crosswords and treasure hunt games are basic forms of puzzle games in both physical and digital form.

All types of digital games involve a social involvement of players. Some need collaborative efforts to play while others may be discussed or analyzed socially. In spite of some games being accused of outright violent visual effects, a well-designed game can accelerate the thinking process by motivating, engaging, involving creativity and developing a meta-game i.e., social interactions inspired and enhanced inside or outside the game. Incorporating digital gaming in the basic education framework can lead to augmented competitiveness and multi-dimensional growth in children.

Digital Games in Science Education – Why and Why Not?

The 21st century requires the mentors and the students to integrate technology into the curriculum. Though the ultimate goal is to benefit the students in terms of learning and experience, unsupervised, unorganized or irrelevant application can lead to complete failure or have negative effects. Some of the negative impacts of digital games in general and in context with the education are listed below:

Digital games have been facing constant rebuke for allegedly enhancing aggression amongst kids and developing a violent streak at an early stage. In a study by Anderson and Bushman (2001), Children involved in violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping. Use of weapons and being rewarded for being violent is a cause of widespread concern.

Digital games can be addictive for children and make them physically inactive. Digital games, other than social networking, are considered for reduced physical activity leading to obesity in kids and postural and skeletal disorders.

Addiction to games is also known to make kids socially secluded. Impulsive behavior, depression and increased anxiety levels are largely attributed to excessive gaming in children. Some studies also suggest that the children playing games are unable to concentrate for a long span and have reduced attention span.

Children are prone to absorbing socially unacceptable behavior through some digital games such as using profanities and ill-treating the fairer sex. Lack of adequate knowledge about screening the material available online is a growing concern amongst the parents.

Digital games are considered a hindrance to better performance in academics. Students are often found to skip homework to play games leading to deteriorated performance at school. However, despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have in fact been shown to help children learn skills, content, and vital “21st-century” skills. From digital games children can learn: content (from rich vocabulary to science to history), skills (from literacy to math to complex problem-solving), creation of artifacts (from videos to software code) and systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships as a whole). Strong arguments in favor of using digital games as learning aids in secondary education are summarized below:

Digital games involve extreme hand-eye coordination and enhance motor and sensory skills. Sensory stimulation theory proposed by academician Laird (1985) validates that effective learning occurs when the senses are stimulated. While some studies show that digital gaming reduces attention span, there are strong evidences of improved concentration in short intervals of time. Digital games involve keeping an eye on every detail, follow the rules and respond proactively to the given situation. Complex digital games help is developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Some games also involve logical analysis of the situation and pattern recognition and improve memorizing thus assisting in the cognitive process. Playing by the rules teaches children to accept and respect a certain level of discipline.

Multi-player digital games develop a sense of constructive competitive attitude. Collaborative games also improve team-building attitude. They develop time management skills in a team and train the players to cooperate for mutually desired goal. They teach the players to accept defeat as well as strive for better results. Digital games provide an avenue for hyperactive kids to direct the energy in a constructive system based game. They also provide an outlet to release aggression and frustration, thus helping in diffusing stress. Some games also involve physical activity such as Nintendo Wii boxing helping kids to engage mentally and physically with the kids. Complex digital games involve high level of multitasking thus improving brain’s natural learning process. Brain based learning theory proposes that multi-tasking is an inherent activity of the brain and learning is enhanced by challenges at various levels. Digital games develop efficient situational analysis and strategy making in children. Since games have certain objectives at every level and a final objective of the game, it teaches players to devise short term and long-term strategies such as scoring points, retaining energy and reaching the ultimate goal of the game. Simulation games and the role-playing digital games help players gain expertise or learn by experiencing in replicas of real world situations. Experiential learning and action learning theories are based on the premise that individuals learn faster when they by experiencing and actually participating in action.

“Games require the kind of thinking that we need in the 21st Century because they use actual learning as the basis for assessment. They test not only current knowledge and skills, but also preparation for future learning. They measure 21st century skills like collaboration, innovation, production, and design by tracking many different kinds of information about a student, over time. ”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Digital Games And Kids – A Different Perspective

The Future of an IT Career

Based on who you ask, a career in IT is both bright and risky. The information technology industry is going through dramatic changes because of the consumer technology, social media, recession and cloud computing, just to name a few. These changes in the corporate world and IT industry are impacting the availability of IT jobs, required skills and salaries. Read on to find out more about it.

If you ask IT professionals, especially those who consider their profession in the IT industry as a dead end will say that the IT departments are facing a non-stop cycle of downsizing. Others things that are adding to the concerns of professionals are offshoring, and the use of the high-tech labors in the form of H-1B visa holders. This is the reason some people think that the pursuing a career in the IT sector is somewhat risky.

Aside from this, the existing professionals in the industry are also fed up with the fact that they are not appreciated for the time and effort they invest in order to get their routine work done. They have been finding it hard to maintain a balance between work and life, not to mention the fact that they are not getting the salary increments they expect.

Other the other side, some professionals are optimistic and they say things in favor of the IT industry. They agree that the industry professionals have a lot of problems to face, such as globalization, offshoring, technological changes and so on. But they still believe that it is the best time to be an IT professional. They are of the opinion that jobs in this industry and the jobs in the near future will be so lucrative that the job holders will be considered well-rounded employees. And they will be better prepared to handle other business tasks. This is because technology is making its way into all types of businesses, and there will be need for IT pros in every business.

Why pursue a career in IT

Although the problem of layoffs and outsourcing is there, the IT sectors still have some jobs that are more stable. Some employers are of the opinion that this trend is leaving towards long tenures. Moreover, large companies want their IT pros to work for them for long term because the knowledge of the IT architecture that the employees have will be hard to replace.

The importance of architecture is on the rise, and companies know the value of highly tenured employees. These companies look for ways in order to attract talented people and want to keep them for a long term. And when they hire someone, they want to make the part of their company.

If you want to pursue IT career, you should be flexible enough to adopt changes. This is way to stay ahead of the completion and achieve your goals. Keep in mind that you won’t be jobless if you are hardworking and talented. No matter what career you choose, you will be successful.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Enamel Coated Cookware – Benefits & Advantages

Whether you are a “casual cook” or a “culinary enthusiast”, it’s helpful to know the benefits and advantages of enamel coated cookware.

The casual cook probably gets frustrated and discouraged by the chore of cleaning and scrubbing plain stainless steel, aluminum or cast iron pots and pans. If you’re the ‘enthusiast’, you want to spend more time enjoying the meal and your guests.

Plain stainless steel, aluminum and cast iron pots and pans don’t provide resistance to heat. As a result, cooking at high temperatures makes food stick. This makes cleanup a hassle and detracts from enjoying the time preparing meals. The first noticeable benefit of enamel coated cookware is the smooth, glossy feel on the outside of the pots and pans. This glossy finish, both inside and out, is added for two important reasons. The first is to allow you to cook at high temperatures. Food does not stick, making cleaning much easier and you can use recipes which require more intense heat adding more variety to your meals.

Another benefit of enamel coated cookware is its resistance to rust. The thick, glossed feel that is part of enamel cookware prohibits rust for a longer useful life of the pot or pan. Enamel cookware is known to be very durable and the outer texture is able to stop damage from the elements in your kitchen that effect cookware.

Adding to the advantages of enamel cookware is style. Enamel cookware comes in a variety of stylish, contemporary colors. Pots and pans come in assorted shapes and sizes. If you cooking needs are simple, you can be well served with 2 or 3 basic pots or skillets. If you like to braise, roast, sauté, grill or fry, there is a perfect pot, skillet, grill pan or roaster for you. With various sizes, you can find a shallow skillet designed for grilling or a deeper skillet for frying. You can find larger pots for making stock or soups. Smaller ones are common for stews. Today, kitchen designs frequently incorporate open shelves or cabinets with clear glass doors allowing you to display this fashionable style of cookware and add a touch of flair to your decor. Plain stainless steel, aluminum or cast iron creates a more “utilitarian” look. Also, the stylish appearance of enamel cookware allows you to take it directly from the stove or oven directly to the table.

If you want to enhance your cooking experience then enamel coated cookware is right for you. It is one of the most popular types of cookware found in today’s kitchens. Cook your best with pots, pans and skillets that are durable, rust resistant and very stylish.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Enamel Coated Cookware – Benefits & Advantages