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. The BBC reports on the Which article about Brain Training.
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?
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.
Slitherine Software are a games based company but with a slant.
Well, it’s very simple – we make history-based games. That’s our core, and I think while there are other companies who make a variety of products, we have a very clear idea of what we want to do. That’s what’s important for us – our licenses and the types of games we create.
It has to be cultural and entertaining – history is culture, and we don’t want people to notice that they’re actually learning something while they’re playing, that’s the goal. Because retail hates edutainment and culture, they just don’t like it. As soon as you say “culture” they tell you they won’t sell it.
The goal for us has always been to get people to learn by stealth, and movies like Gladiator or Saving Private Ryan – they’re entertainment, but they’re also giving some educational learning content too.
Though making a lot of PC software, they also see the PSP as having real potential as an edutainment device (though like most people I can’t stand the term edutainment).
But I think the PSP is more of a suitable platform right now, and I think at the moment it’s the console has the most potential to target new consumers.
From a learning perspective I do believe that the PSP has a lot to offer learners, and certainly my experiences with our MoLeNET Glossy project last year back this up, the PSP was the most used and popular mobile device we used, over other devices such as the iPod touch and the Asus EeePC.
Will be interesting to see if the PSP starts to have more educationally orientated content, the Nintendo DS certainly at the moment seems to have more non-gaming titles in its catalogue, though PSP sales outsell DS according to Minoli.
I’ve seen sales charts for some territories now and a top ten PSP game sells more than a top ten Nintendo DS game.
What do you think, is the PSP the future of mobile learning?