VIDEO GAMES IN THE CLASS­ROOM

Reader's Digest (India) - - Mednews -

Ever won­dered why kids will skip meals to con­tinue with their video games, yet some­how al­ways have some­thing bet­ter to do when it comes to home­work? It’s be­cause their brains are wired that way, says Aus­tralian neu­rol­o­gist and teacher Judy Wil­lis. Video games are so ap­peal­ing be­cause kids use feed­back from their mis­takes to im­prove and make progress. When they suc­cess­fully com­plete a level they get a surge of the neu­ro­chem­i­cal dopamine (the same one that keeps gam­bling ad­dicts go­ing back for more)—and they’re spurred to at­tempt the next chal­lenge be­cause their brain craves an­other dopamine-in­duced plea­sure hit.

Wil­lis is try­ing to ap­ply th­ese prin­ci­ples to class­room teach­ing. “Chil­dren’s brains don’t have ex­ec­u­tive func­tion yet; they need im­me­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion, they’re not wired to seek long-term goals. So we need to work with the dopamine re­sponse,” she says.

While con­ven­tional meth­ods leave kids bored, Wil­lis has found that en­sur­ing chil­dren buy into what they are learn­ing, hav­ing them al­ways work­ing at their own achiev­able chal­lenge level, and pro­vid­ing them with in­stant feed­back or grat­i­fi­ca­tion makes them want to keep play­ing… er, study­ing.

The One World School­house: Ed­u­ca­tion Reimag­ined. He lays out his vi­sion for the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing self­paced learn­ing and the idea of the “flipped class-

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