Proven by Science: Playing Video Games Can Make You Smarter!

Attention kids: print this out and show it to your mom! It turns out that playing certain Nintendo DS games every day can make our smarter.

The 30 children from St Columba's primary school - all aged nine and 10 played Dr Kawashima's More Brain Training game on a Nintendo DS console every morning before lessons for about 15 minutes.

The "game" is a collection of mini-games, such as number challenges, reading tests, problem-solving exercises and memory puzzles designed to exercise the brain by increasing blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex. [...]

The children played the game every day for 10 weeks with "dramatic" results.

Just the perfect excuse to get yourself a sweet console, all in the name of learning, of course! Link - via Spluch

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Ugj, maybe the BBC reported it wrong, but that sure sounds like a flawed study to me:
1. You can't have the test groups (including the control) in different schools! They've got different teachers and perhaps different textbooks and/or learning methods. To do a test like this, EVERYBODY need to be in the same class so that the other variables are controlled & kept constant. At the end of this test, all it proved was that St. Columba's kids did better than the other schools' kids. You can't state why, though! It could have been ANY of the differences among the schools, even the type of food served up at lunch.

2. It looks like the "control group" didn't play any games, but didn't do anything structured either. What would have happened if they just had a 15 minute longer lesson? Add this in as a test variant.

---> To proper structure an experiment like this, they should have broken those 30 children up into 3 groups, each with a different teach/play method. That starts getting small sample sizes, so then you repeat the same partitioning over the other 2 schools as well. If you want to try competiting software, add more schools and break the classes up finer (say 5 schools and groups of 6 kids on each method in each school). The thing to avoid is doing it the way they did, which is an AWFUL interpretation of scientific method.
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Actually almost any game can help to make a child smarter and/or improve their basic skills.

Many RPG games involve a lot of reading and complex story lines in which a child would have to follow in order to complete the game.

Logic skill, hand eye coordination etc can all improve from hours of game play.

Not saying EVERY game will contribute equally, just saying that 'certain' games could be much broader than the games mentioned that are specifically designed for such a purpose.

*Don't blame the games, blame the parents*
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I do believe that using methods such as educational video games can really help turn students on to learning.

This idea isn't exactly new though, since I was playing number crunchers in class at least 10 years ago!

The real problem is how to incorporate stuff like this without turning children off to books and more traditional learning methods that have their own unique advantages.
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