Atari founder: Use video games to teach and students will 'never forget'

23rd February 2014 at 13:35

Applying video gaming technology to education will allow students to learn ten times faster and retain knowledge "forever", according to the latest education entrepreneur to emerge from the US.

Nolan Bushnell already has an impressive track record. As the man behind Atari – the home of Space Invaders – he pioneered computer gaming and gave Apple founder, the late Steve Jobs, his first job.
But today the 71-year-old is turning his attention to education and believes his new company Brainrush will make him more money than ever.
Mr Bushnell thinks that by making learning as addictive as video games he can dramatically reduce the time it takes to teach the curriculum.
He said the technology he is developing will give students a "permanent memory".
“If you are in the software environment that we are developing, for 20 to 30 minutes a week you will be able to remember 100 per cent of everything you have learned for the rest of your life… [you'll] never forget,” he claims on a radio programme being broadcast on Monday evening.
“The brain science indicates that we should be able to do that.”   
The man known as the “father of modern video gaming” is working on backing up this claim by breaking up the traditional school curriculum into small chunks and subjecting them to “gamification”.
“We have software right now that is teaching subjects 10 times faster than classrooms and we think once we're finished we'll be able to do four years of high school in about six months,” Mr Bushnell told a technology festival in London last year.
“Now we have Education 3.0. It's software-driven, individual and adaptive. We're in the middle of the perfect storm. You guys are probably the last generation that is going to be bored at school.”
According to the BBC, such technology has already garnered “remarkable results”.

One experiment reportedly saw 100,000 students being taught Spanish. They were divided into two groups. The first was taught through video games and remembered 1,500 words. The second was taught conventionally and retained just 150 words.
If their speaking and understanding matched their vocabulary then Mr Bushnell could be onto something.
‘My Teacher is an App,’ is being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday Feb 24 at 8pm   


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