Brain Science 101: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Smarter

Brain neurons, get smarter, cognition, Imagine Learning In a 2011 Scientific American article, behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski reinforced a concept that continues to gain traction today–namely, that it’s possible to improve one’s native intelligence.

In the past, even respected scientists assumed that intelligence was purely genetic and unlikely to change over time.

Nowadays, neuroscientists and cognitive therapists recognize that fluid intelligence (e.g., the capacity to learn and process new information) is the reality.

More importantly, people can boost their fluid intelligence by improving their working memory. But how?

Five Principles

According to Kuszewski, you don’t have to be a genius to improve cognition. Even those with low IQs can grow in fluid intelligence. To quote the author, “what doesn’t kill you (will make) you smarter.” Read more »

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Evaluating Educational Games–Just Do It

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Math video game characters

Do you know how most people evaluate educational games?

Quite simply–they don’t.

For example, consider Dragon Box, an affordable, highly engaging, and extremely educational math video game on algebra. If Dragon Box were a car, it would probably be named Car of the Year.

So what percentage of algebra teachers or parents do you think will be adding it to their toolbox this year? At a rough guess: probably less than one percent.

ST Math, Dreambox, and Big Brainz are three other great programs that can make a significant impact on children’s education. Yet how many math teachers or principals have even heard of these programs? And how many have taken steps to evaluate them to see if they’re truly helpful? Read more »

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Teach Children Math the Fun Way

teaching children math

Mention the words “math” and “fun” in one breath and you might prompt a few raised eyebrows from those around you. But the truth remains that math actually can be fun. All the same, a negative view of math tends to prevail in America; even in the latest flurry over STEAM-based learning initiatives.

For one thing, too many parents’ own experiences with math were less than stellar. Similarly, teachers may feel anxious about motivating youngsters in their classrooms if they aren’t already huge math fans themselves.

What to do?

Don’t worry. Here are a few ways you can help children (and yourself) see math as a fun experience right from the start. Read more »

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How to Choose a Fun and Effective Math Video Game

video games, math fluency, Big Brainz, Timez Attack, choose best learning, effective math video, success, math fact automaticityLet’s face it—not many kids are interested in reciting their multiplication tables or practicing addition when they’ve got video games to play, TV to watch, and technology to explore.

Unfortunately, too many parents and educators automatically assume that video games are mere time wasters, as mentioned in our earlier discussion about game-based learning.

Of course, sorting out the effective math games from the mediocre ones can be a challenge. Not every game is equal when it comes to producing lasting learning. So, what to do? Read more »

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The Truth About Game-Based Educational Software

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Math-fact gamification

Ask a typical educator about game-based learning and video games in school, and expect at least some skeptical responses.

Many educators and parents worry about gaming as an educational tool.

Research on the educational worth of video games has been mixed, and some educators point out the fact that most data come from short-term studies.

While research on educational software is still young, increasing evidence points to positive outcomes for today’s students—despite the prevalence of headlines linking video games to bad behavior or lukewarm learning outcomes.

According to James Gee, an education professor at Arizona State University, blaming all video games for poor results is like blaming all food for the existence of obese people.1 Read more »

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