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Brain Training “does no such thing”

January 29, 2009

Brain Training does no such thing

Research from the University of Rennes has concluded that using the Nintendo DS Brain Training game “does no such thing”.

As reported in The Telegraph

Scrabble is just as good at improving mental sharpness as a Nintendo DS video games console and a copy of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, say researchers from the University of Rennes, Brittany.

However how many of our learners play Scrabble?

Graham Brown Martin on the new Game Based Learning forum says:

Although personally I think this is missing the point somewhat given that Brain Training has achieved something most Math teachers haven’t – namely making mental arithmetic cool.The fact is whilst a teenager might achieve the same benefit playing sudoko or Scrabble, even in Paris they don’t play these games anymore (although I’m sure that when the researchers played the games they found the sudoku). Assuming we accept that activities that use the mind are worth it then surely approach’s that at least engage with learners are better than those that don’t even if the net effect is neutral?

The use of Brain Training on the Nintendo DS in Scotland had better results.

What do you think? Is the use of games such as Brain Training just a waste of time and money, or are they tools that allow us to engage with disaffected and younger learners (or even adults) for whom traditional assessment methods do not work.

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