Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Study Suggests Using Nintendo DS Game Software Increases Engagement of ADHD Students

According to an article in the Winter edition of Journal of Research on Technology in Education, the results of a recent study by Stacy Wegrzyn, Doug Hearrington, Tim Martin, and Adriane B. Randolph had interesting results that may have an impact on how we help students with ADHD engage and focus in the classroom. According to their study, the “daily use of brain games can help strengthen focusing ability and executive functioning in adolescents with ADHD.”

In this study, students were asked to play “brain games” for a minimum of 20 minutes each morning before school for 5 weeks. Their level of engagement was then measured at three points during the day using electroencephalogram, parent and teacher reports, researcher observations, and participant self-reports.

The findings in this study suggest that we can use Nintendo’s DS software called Brain Age as a potential “nonpharmaceutical alternative to ADHD medication. It also suggests it might be a more affordable alternative than medications as well. The study cautions though, “Not every child will see an improvement through the use of brain games.”

The study suggests the following implications for 21st century educational practice:
  • Brain games, such as the Nintendo DS Brain Age software, as a form of treatment could be kept within the school or even within the classroom.
  • Teachers could allow struggling students to play the games each morning during homeroom, lunchtime, or recess.
  • Teachers could then evaluate the usefulness of the games in increasing each student’s ability to focus.
  • Unlike medication suggestions, teachers could try using the games without liability concerns, even if the games do not help increase the student’s engagement.
For more information on this study be sure to check out the current Winter edition of Journal of Research on Technology in Education. For information on Nintendo’s DS Brain Age game software, check out their web site here.

Ultimately, this is a perfect example of personalizing education for students. One can help but wonder whether these same kinds of tools can help all students focus and engage more in their learning.

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