Posts tagged #research

Video Games (ie Wii Sports and DDR) May Benefit Kids with Cerebral Palsy [study]


In a new article on Disability Scoop, a study claims that "Video Games may Benefit Kids with Cerebral Palsy".

To be clear, the study tested with four specific games, Wii Sports Bowling, Tennis and Boxing, and Dance Dance Revolution.

They found that the games encouraged repetitive movements, while providing positive feedback in a fun environment, according to the study published online this week in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Significantly, the researchers said children with cerebral palsy who typically utilized one, dominant side of their body were engaging their full body when playing the games, suggesting that the activity could be a low-impact way of achieving therapeutic goals.

“While our results did not show that (active video) game play can be regarded as a replacement for more vigorous physical activity or muscle strengthening, we found that some games may provide targeted therapy focused on specific joints or movements,” said Elaine Biddiss of the University of Toronto who led the study.

(Yay U of T, my alma mater)

It's interesting that while the headline says "Video Games" the actual games in question are uniquely active games that exist within a very narrow category of video games, and aren't your traditional PC or console games.

Additional reading:

Tablet Games Trump Traditional Therapy in Treating Autism and Cerebral Palsy (Kotaku)

Playing on a Tablet as Therapy (WSJ subscription required)

Posted on May 8, 2012 .

Do Kids Learn From Video Games? Research says... maybe

Published in the Review of Educational Research, researchers1 recently took a look at data surrounding video games and their affect on academic achievement. Their conclusion? Educational gaming may have some benefit for kids in the areas of history, language acquisition, and physical education (in exercise games) but there is inconclusive evidence that such gaming improve math or science.

Daniel Wiligham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, writes:

[The researchers] did try to cast a wide net to capture positive effects of gaming. They did not limit their analysis to random-control trials, but included qualitative research as well. They considered outcome measures not just of improved content knowledge (history, math, etc.) but also claims that gaming might build teams or collaborative skills, or that gaming could build motivation to do other schoolwork.

Making generalizations about the educational value of gaming is difficult because games are never played the same way twice. There's inherent noise in the experimental treatment. That makes the need for systematicity in the experimental literature all the more important. Yet the existing studies monitor different player activities, assess different learning outcomes, and, of course, test different games with different features.

The authors draw this rather wistful conclusion: “The inconclusive nature of game-based learning research seems to only hint at the value of games as educational tools.”

The number of studies reviewed in the research study was relatively small, only 39, particularly given that educational gaming has been around for quite a while.

Wilingham also notes that the review did not include any studies of simulations, which might have had more positive effects on math and science learning.

So the next time you are thinking about buying a so-called "edutainment game", consider this: there might not be as much benefit as you think. If they're going to spend time playing, their time might be better spent learning how to become a competitive Starcraft player.

OK, I made that last part up.

1. Young, M. F. et al. (2012). Our princess is in another castle: A review of trends in serious gaming for education. Review of Educational Research, 82, 61-89.

Posted on March 30, 2012 .