A study by researchers at University of Padua & E Medea Scientific Institute has reported “that only 12 hr of playing action video games—not involving any direct phonological or orthographic training—drastically improve the reading abilities of children with dyslexia” … and goes onto claim “We found that only playing action video games improved children’s reading speed, without any cost in accuracy, more so than 1 year of spontaneous reading development and more than or equal to highly demanding traditional reading treatments.”.

This study looked at 20 children with dyslexia, and split those into two groups of 10, (one playing Action video games, one group non-action video games). The groups did not initially differ on reading and attentional measurements before. After exposure to the video games, those playing the action video games demonstrated a ” increased reading speed without a cost in accuracy”. Two months later 6 of the children from the AVG group were assessed and the effect appeared to be long-lasting!

Obviously this is a very small study and it would be interesting to apply this method to a much larger group with a control group monitored undertaking standard phonological or orthographic training (however I’m not entirely sure how the ethical issues would be dealt with there ) .. still this is exciting news and demonstrated the potential that games have not only in engaging students but supporting learning for students with disability.

The full study can be found on the SciVerse database

Franceschini,S., Gori, S., Ruffino, M., Viola, S,. Molteni, M. & Facoetti, A. (2013). Action Video Games Make Dyslexic Children Read Better. Current Biology (Corrected Proof, citation details still to be confirmed)

various games

There’s something I need to confess …  I am interested in far too many things and am easily distracted, however, turn something into a game and you’ve got my full attention – computer games, board games, pervasive games it doesn’t matter; played on my own, in a team, with or against others, at home, in the car, at work(!) there’s something that makes me want to at least give it a go! I love games of logic and skill but equally enjoy the random nature of others, in fact there are very few ways I’d rather pass the time than by playing games of some sort!

In fact when it comes to friends, games have brought me closer to some, been an introduction to others and a fun way of keeping touch with people who have moved away. I’m a regular World of Warcraft player who enjoys both raiding and PVP, however the main reason I’m still playing now, after 5 years, is the social side to it. In that period of time close friends and family have moved hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away and WoW has meant that I still frequently ‘bump’ into them (ok – online) but we chat and hang out, catch up and have fun.

Currently I work in higher education in the UK as a Learning Technologist. I am always looking for ways to engage both staff and students with digital resources and technologies that are beneficial to teaching and learning. I have been watching the rise of ‘serious games’ for a while now and am slightly disappointed in how games based learning is being implemented. Although the concept is popular it still has a way to go to be accepted with games having pedagogically sound learning outcomes defined and linked to curriculum. Luckily it seems like I’m getting the opportunity to undertake funded research that looks at the use of games for learning (more on that soon!)- although not sure everyone would call it lucky to be taking on PhD study whilst working full-time, but hey! It should go hand-in-hand with work and avoids returning to the days of being a poor student in order to do it.

So hopefully this blog will become a space for me to voice my enthusiasm about games great and good (and not so good!), an outlet for sharing thoughts and updates regarding the research, provide interesting information for you and maybe even start a dialogue with as yet unknown people!

(oh, came across this festival of interesting games happening in Bristol this September. Looks great In their own words it’s a whole world of “street games, outdoor spectacles, mass social interaction, the reclamation of public urban spaces for play and adventure”!)