Does the Scientific Method Work?

Now that we’ve attended the lecture on research, allow me to inject the proper note of existential uncertainty and despair.

Here’s an article from the New Yorker about something called the Decline Effect. In the decline effect, dramatic results that are rigorously proven tend to shrink over time if the study is replicated. Is it researcher bias? Publisher bias? Or does the universe like to play jokes?

Video games reveal kids’ core competencies

Came across this article,, and was very excited to post it here in the blog. The article basically outlines almost all of the ideas that we have been covering in class. It discusses how researchers are now proving statistically that learning, and assessing learning, through video games can make learning more enjoyable and effective for children. “Based on a student’s responses to various situations that come up during the course of playing a video game, the game itself can be programmed to assess where that student might be especially strong or weak in core competencies,” Shute, one of the main researchers said. The article contends that current assessment isn’t valid or effective and that by using games we can actually do a better job. Score one for the video gamers.

Read more: Video games reveal kid’s core competencies – The Times of India

Augmented Reality

So, Eric K. spoke about how we can use mobile phones to augment reality and learning.  There are other groups working on this, not necessarily from a K12 educational standpoint, but from an everyday use and just-in-time / need-to-know learning standpoint….

Story on gaming and cognitive skills

Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills” discusses the work of Daphne Bavelier on gaming and cognitive skills. From the introduction to the story:

Daphne Bavelier is professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. She studies young people playing action video games. Having now conducted more than 20 studies on the topic, Bavelier says, “It turns out that action video games are far from mindless.”

Her studies show that video gamers show improved skills in vision, attention and certain aspects of cognition. And these skills are not just gaming skills, but real-world skills. They perform better than non-gamers on certain tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking, says Bavelier.

In addition to the written story, you can also listen to the radio story.

From a good source

The National Research Council and the National Academies Press are your go-to-guys for careful non-biased research reports on the state of the world.  Just a few weeks ago, they released their report on the potential of video games for science learning.  You can read the whole thing online.