Daphne Bavelier is a professor at the University of Geneva, who studies cognitive neuroscience. She presented the popular TED Talk “Your brain on video games”. She studies how new media such as video games can be used to support learning and cerebral development.
At TED Talk “Your brain on video games”, she had surprised the audience by presenting some results of her research on the action video games effects on the brain.
Entertain to teach
But let’s focus on the end of the video and the poetic “broccoli” effect! For the lazy ones who, wrongly, do not take the time to watch the entire video (below), here’s how we can summarize this famous broccoli effect : something “pushing”, not appettizing like learning mathematics, french history lesson… Tell a child you are going to learn history during 3 hours, or make some mathematics exercises … Broccoli effect ! Nothing attractive or inspiring! Then, tell him you are going to read comics or play video games … Chocolate Effect!
Concretely, young audiences (and not only, because if you listen Daphne, the average gamer is 33 years old) can spend hours and hours playing video games. That’s rational! Video games publishers are entertainment professional. They found almost magic formulas to make their customers addicted to their products.
Many parents (mine too!) have already yelled at their children : “If only you spent so much time on your homework than with your video games !”. So, let’s use these entertainment professionals to help us make children addicted to learning !
I can already hear some of you say “it already exists! It’s called gamification. Blablabla…”. Yes I know. GAMIFICATION ! Just this word creates nausea. Not very “chocolate effect” as a concept…
When a lot of “experts” told me about gamification, I expected to spend hours taking pleasure in a content, as I could spend hours on my Super Nintedo at home. Finally, I was disappointed, since it was not so different that traditional apprenticeship, only a few new concepts were added (level, badge, role play… and then, attemps to offer a real video games were epic fail (convoluted scenario, disappointing visuals, …). Sometimes, just the name of the game puts off anyone who dares to approach ! “Learning multiplication with Rayman”… Yeah, with such a title, the message could not be clearer : “it makes you believe that it’s a game, but no! We still hammering with mathematics”!
The best example was given by UBISOFT is certainly the game Valiant Hearts that allows you to learn more about the 1st world war while having fun.
Every maker of video games knows something that the makers of curriculum don’t seem to understand. You’ll never see a video game being advertised as being easy. Kids who do not like school will tell you it’s not because it’s too hard. It’s because it’s—boring
The innovative pedagogist Seymour Papert
Video games professionals know how to entertain, how to addict… Teachers know how to teach, to transmit… What Else! Let’s collaborate!