Maths - Good Nintendo intentions

Tes Editorial

A daily 20-minute session using Nintendo's Brain Training from Dr Kawashima computer game has been found to raise pupils' attainment in maths as well as their concentration and behaviour levels.

Learning and Teaching Scotland announced the results of a research project it carried out with HMIE and Dundee University at last week's Scottish Learning Festival.

The research involved more than 600 pupils and 32 schools from last April after a small study involving three classes in June 2007 found significant improvements in pupils' maths scores and the time they took to complete the ICT-based exercises.

The pupils involved in the most recent research were given a maths test before using the Brain Training from Dr Kawashima game on a Nintendo DS console for 20 minutes at the start of each day for nine weeks. The game featured challenges including reading tests, problem-solving exercises and memory puzzles. A control group did no games work, following traditional lessons in class.

When they were tested again at the end of the nine weeks, the results showed that all groups had improved their scores, but those using the game improved by a further 50 per cent. The time the "games" pupils took to complete the maths tests dropped from 18.5 minutes to 13.5 minutes - twice as big an improvement as the control group.

Less-able children were more likely to improve than the highest attainers and almost all pupils had an increased perception of their own ability. There was no difference in ability between girls and boys and a notable improvement in attendance and punctuality, while pupils' interpersonal relationships also improved.

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