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Can online games really help to boost numeracy?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    1. A good way? No.
    2. See 1.
    Middlemarch likes this.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Yes, of course. But whether online games are the most effective way to improve core skills at school is another question altogether. They are definitely worth utilising to motivate reluctant learners to practise their skills at home.
  4. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    No no no no! Online games are bad enough at home, let alone at school. There are millions of gaming addicts already who sit all day long gawping at screens while eating junk fund and drinking fizzy drinks. I saw a terrifying report on Channel 4 news about a gaming festival in Coventry where whey- faced young people lose their ability to socialise, and neglect their lives and work because they have become addicted.
  5. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Card games can be a great way to improve mental arithmetic
  6. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I think it depends on the game. Something like mathbreakers, which is designed to promote number sense (and seems pretty good at it) is a different beat from some of the more formulaic games there are out there.
  7. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Videogaming improves parts of the brain - they get bigger! To do with how much relevant information your brain can keep in mind at the same time; also to do with sense of direction and ability to handle 3D.
    Even pensioners improve. 'Twas on tv recently.

    And why not have good software in areas of learning that work. If done properly, with sensible content, IT should be a boon.
  8. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    A report?

    On Channel 4 news?!

    Gosh, it must be true and unbiased then.
  9. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Ah, bless! A sarcastic new contributor all done up in a spiderman suit.
    Middlemarch likes this.
  10. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Obsessions are probably more beneficial than harmful when it comes to learning.
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    There is a different approach to this topic. Instinctive mathematics requires computations in the System 1 part of thinking and decision making. Deep thought mathematics require computations in the System 2 part of thinking. (Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow)

    When you hear the sound Oui or Si your brain instinctively translates it in the same way as when someone says what is 2x2? When people talk about learning by 'rote', what they are actually saying is that you program the System 1 part of the brain to automatically translate 7x7 as 49 and so on. You can program the System 1 in the same way as a computer.

    When doing System 2 computations, for example, 20x22 - then you conduct a pair of deep thought computations which rely upon instinctive computations such 2x200 and 2x20. The funny trick is to ask people to walk and compute a deep thought sum. They immediately stop walking as the brain shuts down systems to devote brain power to the system 2 request.

    Computer games can help in drilling both the instinctive program for System 1 and the problem solving approach to number work which requires connected sequences of instinctive number work against a theory of problem solving.

    This approach applies to spelling and grammar and other areas of study where both the instinctive system and the deep thought system have to work in tandem. A good teacher programs their pupils' system 1 thinking system with a good range of instinctive responses to specific stimuli or requests. And yes, computer games can help with this. I recall reading about constuctionism in which they designed a virtual world in which to navigate and function in the world you needed to be able to instinctively have number constructs programmed in. This helped develop in the pupils' System 1 thinking the correct instinctive responses.
  12. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    This really asks if practising a skill or using your knowledge helps to improve it. That the method of practice is a computer game is irrelevant.
  13. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Computer games move maths away from the abstract. To learn maths to any useful degree requires attention to the abstract and conscious effort.
  14. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    more a case of not distracting it perhaps?
  15. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    There is a section in the documentary in which he gets people to count backwards from 100 in increments of 7 whilst walking. It is a struggle! It is reinforced by the brain scans done through neuroscience in education. Theories of learning are being influenced heavily by neuroscience these days.

    Computer games are very good at using reward and loss aversion as motivators for conditioning intuitive responses. However, I concur that you then need a teacher to teach children how to deploy and problem solve using higher order number work. In particular, you need a teacher to show children how to work and learn collaboratively.

    The brain has this primeval intuitive system, but then we have the system 2 which requires deeper thought. This links well with The Marshmallow Test book currently doing the rounds. This book shows why intrinsic motivation is far more important than whether a child can count to ten, write its name etc. If you can enhance a child's deferred gratification thought process he or she will progress further in their life outcomes than if you gave them a thousand booster classes and excessively marked books.
  16. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    I think my system 2 just imploded.
  17. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Are we in good old 'correlation does not equal causation' territory? A colleague of mine used to say "Whatever you pay more attention to will usually show some form of improvement - but it might not be for very long, it might not last and it will often be at the expense of something you pay less attention to."
  18. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    No of course it won't. Mathematics, and therefore numeracy, is predominantly a written language. Also, maths/numeracy facility is underpinned by insights, tips and tricks which can only be passed on from (a good) teacher to pupil. No computer program can do that. No doubt teacher employers would love the on-line game as cheap teacher scenario to be true - think of the ££££savings.

    When an exam candidate answers a question in a maths exam then that individual has to write down not just the answer but how that answer was arrived at, i.e. how the hypotheses given are used along with the rules of mathematics + logic to move to a correct solution.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  19. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    1. Do kids not do mental arithmetic any more?
    2. Computer games can include writing.
  20. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015

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