1 + 1 = Head shot!

We’ve all heard the stories about games making you do crazy stuff like shoot / stab / maim / run over people, but little is ever spoken about the proven positive aspects of gaming. Proven being the provocative word here, as nobody has ever laid some cold hard research on the table and said:

 “There you go folks, this is proof that playing games turns you into a psychopathic maniac capable of doing some downright nasty things – Yours, Professor Fiddlesticks”

Recently though an email arrived in my inbox that did have some proven facts about the effects of gaming on children. The study was not about the negative effects either, but the positive, in this case the child’s ability in Maths.

Stats are nothing without figures so here’s the relevant ones, 600 pupils in 32 schools across the UK were involved in the project.

The test was carried out jointly by Learning and Teaching Scotland, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Education and the University of Dundee; the results are quite interesting.

At the beginning of the day pupils would use Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training and work through the game’s mathematical problems before carrying on with their regular school activities.

When the study finished at the end of the nine week test period, the children that used Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training showed a noticeable increase in their mathematical skills, with the average time taken to solve them down from 18.5 minutes to 13.5 minutes.

There was no difference between boys and girls, and quite interestingly the study proved that it didn’t matter if the children had the game at home, as it was the relevance of using it in an educational context that was the key.

If improving the mathematical skills wasn’t enough, another side effect the study picked up was that schools that took part in the study found a decrease in the number of children being absent from school as well as lateness, with concentration and behaviour levels also boosted.

So there you have it, there may be some people that happily think games have nothing but a negative effect on people, and I do wonder where those people are now? I mean this report was published by ELSPA a few days ago and I’ve seen no mention of it, you can bet your golden Legend of Zelda NES cartridge that if it was a negative finding, it’d be everywhere.

Games, they help children increase their skills in maths, attend school more frequently, concentrate harder and behave better, that ladies and gentlemen is FACT.







3 responses to “1 + 1 = Head shot!”

  1. Tony avatar

    But Brain Training is a very specific type of game.

    Now I’d like to see what happened if they’d let them play GTA IV for a few minutes each day.

    My guess is you’d get the same improvement in lowering truancy and lateness but I seriously doubt you’d see the maths skills improve…

    And would there be more fights, uzi-battles and car chases in the playground?

  2. Lorna avatar

    It can be argued though that regardless of the genre, games can teach logical thinking, problem solving and dexerity, not to mention improved reaction times. But as you say Ben, these are also altogether too positive for the reactionary gutter press.

  3. Michael avatar

    I read, though I can’t recall where at the minute, of a girl saving her family from their overturned car thanks to having played GTA and knowing an overturned car will explode. Good murder simulator! Bit worried that the family may have died otherwise though…

    “It didn’t matter if the child had the game at home” – surely that would negate the effectiveness of the ‘game’? If you’re learning, you’re learning, it matters not where. I mean, if they played the game quite regularly, would they not be even better at solving maths problems etc than those who just used it in class?

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