VIDEO GAMES IN THE CLASSROOM
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-