Mario Math?

May 27, 2008 at 2:34 am Leave a comment

Nintendo DS Brain TrainingA story out of the United Kingdom provides an interesting complement to my most recent post about Nintendo’s Wii Fit…

A pilot study was conducted at a primary school in Scotland to investigate the potential value of utilizing video games in the classroom — video games that are specifically designed to improve memory, spatial reasoning, and other abstract brain functioning skills.

In the study, students were given a Nintendo DS, which is a handheld video game console, and played Dr. Kawashima’s More Brain Training video game at the beginning of every school day, for 20 minutes a day, for 10 consecutive weeks.

At the end of the trial period, the average math scores of students that played with the brain training video games increased by 10 percent (compared to their scores from a pre-intervention assessment). The time it took these students to complete the tests decreased from 17 minutes to 13 minutes.

Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) is the lead organization for curriculum development in the country; Derek Robertson is the development officer of games-based learning for LTS. In the Telegraph article, “Pupils to start day with Nintendo Brain Training,” Robertson said the initial pilot project of Nintendo’s brain training video games produced “fascinating results.”

Not only was there a marked significant improvement in mental maths, but there was also an improvement in concentration levels, behavior, and self-regulation in the learning process.

LTS is so intrigued by the potential of brain training video games that it is expanding its study to include 32 schools — at 16 schools, students will start their day by playing brain training video games; 16 other schools will serve as a control group.

If the results from this larger study are promising, maybe playing video games will become mandatory homework for students.

Play, think…
J.R. Atwood

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“And one, and two, and Wii…” Monkey Brain

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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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