I have been reading a lot about the Nintendo DS lite and the game Brain Age. The game features activities designed to help stimulate your brain and give it the workout it needs like solving simple math problems, counting people going in and out of a house simultaneously, drawing pictures on the Nintendo DS touch screen, and reading classic literature out loud. At times, the game allows you to compete with 16 other people. Which is close enough to web 2.0 for me.

Since standardized tests are so important in my area, would playing Brain Age help improve scores? Attendance?

How do I convince my wife I need one for research?

Brain Age site: http://www.brainage.com

Tags: brain age, gaming, video games

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I don't know if you need a Nintendo, but there's plenty of great educational reasons for playing games in class. This one, LineRider (http://official-linerider.com/play.html), sure makes me wish I were a physics teacher. I haven't found a lot of good ones for history/Social Studies, but I'd sure like to. Games, I think, really can bring across the curriculum in a completely different way that appeals to nearly all students, and, as you suggest, can develop a lot of mental agility.
I haven't actually put my hands on this one, but have been looking into http://www.making-history.com/. Looks promising but as with all things, I am not sure that is feasible in our current funding structure.
I have one and use Brain Age. I love it. Now I am older, late 50's, but I also have an 8 year old son who also plays Brain Age. The game allows you to set up profiles that are given random tests everyday or everytime you connect and you are asked to take some random tests then your scores are given an average and then your Brain Age is calculated. The better you perform on the tests the younger your Brain Age. My son and I have set up profiles and we take our tests and as of today his Brain Age is 42 and mine is 52. He loves this competition and beating the old man. It also creates a dialogue between us about the tests and we help each other out and look for other like examples of the tests online or in books. It is fun and I think Nintendo is onto something here with the older generation of course but in the future I can see some new games aimed at the younger students.
There was a study done in Chile using students from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds using Nintendo Gameboys to learn basic language skills like reading.

The study was well done but slightly flawed, and skewed to show a benefit to the technology, but if controlled for, I suspect no benefit to the technology would be readily available.

It's not about the technology you use, it's about the instructional design. Design a good lesson and it doesn't matter (according to the research) what you use to deliver it, be it a game or a lecture. Sounds counterintuitive but it's shown true in the studies.

Chris Craft
There is an area listing lots of 'Games in Education' research on the page http://www.shambles.net/games/ which might help ... but you'd need to invest the time to really get into it all.

There is no quick fix or answer as with most things in education ... other than what time's the last bell ;-)

... as far as convincing your wife ... UUMMMmmm ... now that's a dangerous question to answer, a romantic week in Jamaica might help ... you could even go as well ;-)
Check out the LearnCentral event next week (January 13th) at 8pm Eastern. The Learning Games Network is gathering a community of teachers specifically interested in incorporating games into the classroom, and also in learning about developing their own games to build into the curriculum. The LearnCentral event link is http://www.learncentral.org/node/44257 .



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