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Neurology finds that video games are good for your brain

Dr. Mark Griffiths summarizes recent research on video games and the brain;

“…there is now a wealth of research which shows that video games can be put to educational and therapeutic uses, as well as many studies which reveal how playing video games can improve reaction times and hand-eye co-ordination. For example, research has shown that spatial visualization ability, such as mentally rotating and manipulating two- and three-dimensional objects, improves with video game playing.

To add to this long line of studies demonstrating the more positive effects of video games is a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Vikranth Bejjanki and colleagues. Their newly published paper demonstrates that the playing of action video games – the sort of fast-paced, 3D shoot-em-up beloved of doomsayers in the media – confirms what other studies have revealed, that players show improved performance in perception, attention, and cognition.”

To read the full article from The Conversation click here;

https://theconversation.com/playing-video-games-is-good-for-your-brain-heres-how-34034

The Neurology of Gaming Read the rest of this entry

Lies about video games

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Tic-Tac Bananas! by Evanced Games

In her article “Video games will rot your brain: and other lies”, Lindsey Hill challenges 3 main accusations of video games.
Hill writes;

“Video games have the ability to change a person’s brain, but the myth is that it’s for the worse. It has long been suggested that gaming negatively impacts our children. The press consistently focuses on the negative aspects of video games: the correlation with “rotting” the brain, encouraging aggressive behavior, promoting anti-social behavior and the list goes on. Must we always look at the downside of something we are not altogether familiar with?

For countless reasons, parents and teachers are hesitant to use gaming technology in the classroom. As both a parent and veteran teacher of 14 years, I’ve had numerous discussions with colleagues who consider video games as simply “mindless” fun. But, those critics are unaware that the touchscreen taps, mouse clicks and joystick jiggles can help sharpen cognitive skills.

Edu-gaming—a now-popular concept that integrates games with education—disputes the theory that video games will rot children’s brains. A recent and compelling article by writer Nic Fleming discusses how educational games are proven to help people see better, learn more quickly, develop greater mental focus, become more spatially aware, estimate more accurately and multi-task more effectively.

As the current lead for reading engagement innovation at Evanced Games (a company that designs influential educational mobile game apps for kids), I spend time each week playing edu-games with children in their school environments. This gives me firsthand experience with the benefits of video games. When played with a purpose, video games are important tools for helping kids take the skills they learn in school and build upon them further after the school day ends.

Gaming Lie No. 1: Video games will rot your brain.

Playing video games is commonly thought to taint children’s brains. Yet, gaming is far from mindless entertainment. Several studies suggest that video games unlock different cognitive skills and improve brain function in measurable ways. In fact, a fascinating new study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus, found that frequent game playing results in a direct increase in the regions of the brain responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation, strategic planning and motor skills.

Gaming Lie No. 2: Video games encourage aggressive behavior.

On the contrary, I have seen video games help redirect aggression and hostility in kids into something much more positive. For example, one of my former third grade students used to act out during reading and math lessons for any reaction from his peers. About mid-year, I began to bring in iPads for continued skills practice in small groups, and, after a couple of days of using these tools, this particular student showed a completely different side of himself. With the introduction of mobile gaming that tied directly to his interests, he discovered something that engaged him more appropriately.”

To read the full article by Lindsey Hill click here; http://www.gamezebo.com/news/2013/11/11/%E2%80%98video-games-will-rot-your-brain%E2%80%99-and-other-lies

A false ballance: on the pros and cons of video games

  In a recent article in the Hindustan Times (http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/BeyondBooks/Are-all-video-games-bad-for-kids/Article1-938399.aspx), the author wrote many positive things about the benefit of video games for kids;

“As the games and higher levels get more complicated, the player has to learn how to manage unforeseen obstructions and changing variables to reach the end objective.  Kids have to think fast and act even faster whether that means changing strategy, making quick analysis and reaching decisions.  It is fascinating how quickly children learn to recognize inherent patterns in games and work out the logical way of solving them.”

Unfortunately the same author went on to list some of the typical “downsides” of games as well,

“Too much game playing will make Jack a dull boy, for sure. Children who play video games endlessly are also likely to have less time for the other important tasks such as schoolwork, reading, sports etc.  There is also an obvious bad effect of addictive game playing on children’s health, including obesity, postural muscular and skeletal disorders and strained eyesight. ”

All of these “downsides” have been or are being mitigated by better games and better gaming practices.

Schoolwork:

Gaming can be part of schoolwork now that better educational games are being adopted inside and outside of the classroom.  Researchers have found that before high school, students gain little benefit from traditional homework.

Reading:

It could be argued that more kids are reading more because of video games than before.  They are not only reading more but composing more in online forums on their favorite games.

Sports:

With the advent of the Wii and other consuls with sensors, more and more games have been created that require players to exercise and have fun in the process.  Good riddance to traditional sports, where too often only the best players get any game time, while the rest of the team sits on the bench watching!
Games hold the promise of helping students to learn more, exercise more, and socialize more than ever before!