Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A cool tool for your brain

I've long been an advocate of the idea of using computer games as educational or mind-enhancement tools. There are three main reasons for this: (1) computer games can give personalised training, adapting to each person's needs, (2) they can give you very quick feedback on your performance, and tell you where you need to improve, hence accelerating the learning process, (3) they can foster a fun sense of competition, hence improving motivation to learn.

For the past couple of weeks I've been using a great game on my Nintendo DS called 'Brain Age'. Designed in Japan, and incorporating the insights of a Japanese neuroscientist (who appears as a 3-D cartoon head in the game), Brain Age is a suite of brain training exercises that you can use for training your brain-power (and graphing your improvements over time) or just playing. A good example of the latter is the game Sudoku which is included. Its a highly addictive number/logic game which you can also play in a paper format, but it works much better as a computer game as it automatically times you and tells you when you've got an answer wrong.

The other good thing about Brain Age is it really makes good use of the Nintendo DS's abilities, such as the touch-screen that you can write and draw on, and the microphone (some tests require you to speak out loud your answers).

I highly recommend Brain Age as a fun way to sharpen your mind. If only schools used things like this.

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