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Pupils empowered by video games

Dundee (Scotland) – Ten weeks of videogame cognitive training can lead to surprising results: mathematics and logic are no longer a difficult obstacle to overcome for elementary school children.

These are the results of a pleasant experiment told by the BBC and conducted by researchers from Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) on a class of thirty pupils aged between nine and ten from a primary school in Dundee. Fifteen minutes a day of training were enough: before the lessons the boys were subjected to play sessions based on Nintendo DS and Dr. Kawashima ‘s More Brain Training, a title that collects mnemonic, logical, perceptive and linguistic exercises.

To verify the effectiveness of the treatment, to confirm how the tight training rhythms allow a greater amount of blood to flow to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, stimulating readiness and ability in school-age children, the performance of the group subjected to the videogame care with two other groups, one exercised at the Brain Gym, physical activity aimed at developing a healthy mens, the other left without supplementary school activities, whether physical or mental.

Terrain of the challenge, a test that assessed the logical-mathematical abilities of the little ones. If the results obtained by the three groups in the pre-training test were substantially comparable, the results of the tests administered were surprising. after ten weeks of treatment . First place, the Scottish school class practiced daily with 15 minutes of gaming. The results obtained by the boys are improved by an average of ten points ; none fell below 65 percent correct answers. Dr Kawashimàs More Brain Training proved to be an excellent learning support even for a disabled child: if in the first test he had obtained a score of 25 correct answers out of 100, in the test that followed the videogame-based training he answered correctly to 68 questions.

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It’s not just a question of scores: globally, the class has proven itself more responsive , reducing the time taken to complete the test by almost 5 minutes. The two control groups also significantly improved their performance, without however obtaining the results achieved by the young gamers.

Unexpectedly, SPOnG reports, Nintendo DS-based training has led to other interesting results: they have improved self-esteem and the ease of the boys, together with their ability to stay focused during class hours.

But weren’t video games considered the trigger for the waves of violence that from time to time hit younger and more sensitive people? Researchers in the sector do not always agree: the one conducted by LTS is only the latest of the studies that have revealed the potential of a certain type of gaming in the field of learning and the development of cognitive skills. A study that insider Derek Robertson hopes can be replicated on a larger scale to confirm the results. And maybe to introduce the handheld console and Dr. Kawashima’s More Brain Training to the list of teaching materials that schoolchildren can’t do without.

Gaia Bottà


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