Is it easier to get children to practice their times tables or get better at playing a video game? Silly question, right? But why do kids like playing video games? They are designed to allow players to gain mastery through practice in a fun environment. When you practice times tables, it feels bad to get them wrong. In a game, you are just playing… even when building skills.
Let me share an example. When we brought a demo of the Attention Arcade to one pilot school, the teacher invited one of his students to play. The first game he played was Dr. Mole and Mr. Hide. While the student did not find it hard to look at the bandit moles, he had a hard time not looking at Dr. Mole (which requires inhibitory control).
First, he tried just not looking. That did not work for him. Then, he tried covering his eyes, but he missed the next bandit mole. Next, he looked away with the same result. However, he did not become frustrated, he actually laughed. I bet he did not respond the same way when he could not remember his times tables.
That was why our attention training was designed as a suite of games. We could have made it a dull series of drills, which would have been simpler. However, that would make it harder to get children to train for the 20 hours that will benefit them.
The games are designed to train different skills with different games, so there are games that most any child will enjoy. Joey shared with me which games he likes best (it is a rather cute 30-second video).
While all children may not like the games quite as much as Joey, I think any child would agree that it is more fun than practicing their times tables.