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Can videogames stop the Christmas study slump?

3 years ago

Tamsin Oxford writer
Tamsin Oxford Professional writer and editor Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, UK
Worried that your child will become violent and eat the neighbour thanks to the evil influence of videogames? There is another side…
Recently an MRI showed that Super Mario 64 actually increased grey matter on a control group playing the game for 30 minutes a day over the space of two months. The study, conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus, showed that video gaming did wonderful things for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning.

The conclusion is that specific brain regions can be trained using videogames. Great.

It isn’t just this research either, 10 years ago Torkel Klingberg (not to be confused with the species on Star Trek) had children play videogames designed to boost memory and the kids showed such improvements in both memory and intellect that it inspired him to create Cogmed, and was the start of a multi-million dollar cognitive training industry. 

This research is particularly significant when considered alongside the fact that kids do experience a learning slide over the holidays. According to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) most students lose around two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer holidays (the biggest culprit due to the length of time away from the classroom) and all experience learning losses if they do not engage in educational activities over the break.

Skylanders and Disney Infinity may eat your wallets, but when it’s cold and wet and horrible outside, gaming is actually a great way of keeping their brains active and agile this Christmas. Add in titles that get them reading, remembering, building and thinking such as Minecraft and boost their learning with outdoor activities and projects that encourage out-the-box thinking. 

In light of all this, what’s one neighbour compared the educational brilliance of gaming?
Will you use videogames to keep their brains active over Christmas? Tell us in the comments below. 
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