I haven’t picked up my copy of Brain Age or Brain Age 2 in a good while, but according to a new study, and seeing as I have a terrible time with anything involving numbers, I probably should. Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), the main organization for the development of the curriculum and for exploring the use of ICT in education, performed a study on the good Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training and looked at what the effects of the game were on pupils’ maths (it’s a British release thus the ‘s’ on the end of math) ability. This past Thursday they revealed that the study found a daily dose of the game improved pupils’ attainment in maths and their concentration and behavior levels.
The study was conducted on 600 pupils in 32 schools and began in April, which, if you think about it, are some pretty quick results. Students were given a test before using Brain Age and then again after using it for nine weeks. Students who played the game everyday for twenty minutes improved 50 percent more than the students in the control group. They also finished the test faster, dropping the average time from 18.5 minutes to 13.5 minutes, with the game’s group improving twice as much as the control group.
More interesting than that though, and a less obvious result, was that the students who played the game became better people. They showed up for class on time more often, their interpersonal skills became better and they were more likely to take charge of a situation or to organize something. Even more impressive was that students who played the game daily started to have a better attitude toward school. Yes, they started to actually enjoy school. Hear that? Brain Age makes kids want to go to school. Let’s see how long Nintendo can keep the DS in stock now.
As a whole this is an important study because it not only shows that games like Brain Age aren’t just blowing smoke but that gaming in general is not only about shooting, maiming and killing. Who knows, maybe in a few years we’ll hear about math (no ‘s’ you crazy British) teachers opening class with a few quick DS games. Now I’m off to tell my parents that I wasn’t wasting time playing videogames whenever I popped in Sesame Street: 1-2-3.