A new UK study into the potentially beneficial effects of Nintendo’s Brain Training games claims that playing the titles daily not only boosts students' math skills, but improves their concentration and behavior levels, too.
Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) led the study, alongside Her Majesty’s Inspector of Education and the University of Dundee. More than 600 pupils and 32 schools were involved in the project, which began in April.
Students were initially given a mathematics test before using Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training (aka Brain Age) for 20 minutes at the start of each day for nine weeks. A control group continued their lessons as normal.
At the end of the nine weeks, tests showed that all groups involved had improved their scores, but those using the game improved by a further 50 percent. The time taken to complete the tests also dropped by five minutes, with the improvement of the games group more than twice as much as the control classes.
Less-able children were also more likely to improve than the highest attainers, and almost all study participants had an increased perception of their own ability. The study also found that it made no difference if the children had the game at home, and there was no difference in ability between girls or boys.
There was also a notable improvement in absence and lateness in some classes involved with the project, pupils' interpersonal relationships also improved, and they were more inclined to take responsibility for management and ownership of the tasks involved - such as distribution and collection of the consoles. There was also a slight improvement in attitude towards school by those in the games group.
"Computer games help flatten out the hierarchy that exists in schools – they are in the domain of the learner as opposed to the domain of the school and the added likelihood of learner place in their own learning being decided for them," said Derek Robertson, LTS’s National Adviser for Emerging Technologies and Learning.
”This intervention encouraged all children to engage and get success in a different contextual framework; one in which they don’t know their place."