How to Teach Guitar
This past week I finally had some free time, so I decided to pull out my guitar and play a few songs. My girlfriend, who also plays, asked if she could join in. Naturally I agreed, but we hit the problem that she didn’t know the song I was playing. I started explaining the chords we would be using and started talking her through the progression and rhythms, but it wasn’t long before we both got frustrated.
Learning to play a song and teaching a song are very different things and I have much more experience with the former. Attempting to teach a song I realized there were several fundamental problems: It was hard to determine what parts of the song would challenge her the most, it was difficult to explain things without resorting to jargon, and it was not always apparent when she wanted to keep practicing something and when she wanted to move onto something new. This experience got me thinking about how some games are very effective at reducing the impact of these kind of challenges, while others fall short. Read more ›
We don’t need no Stinkin’ Badges
Or, Why I’m Unenthusiastic about the Badging Fad
Badges are gaining considerable traction in the field of educational technology, and are a cornerstone of the “gamification” movement. However, I’m unenthusiastic about their potential to increase student engagement or motivation, because no matter how they are used, they serve as a proxy for real, meaningful accomplishments. I’ll discuss the three main purposes of badges, and their limitations, here: Read more ›
This is your Brain on Video Games
There have been plenty of studies on the benefits of crossword puzzles and other brain teasers in the elderly – playing “games” boosts their memory, and strengthen their cognitive skills. Now, new studies are showing that video games can also improve memory.
My favorite quote from the article:
“‘While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase. This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games,’ says study leader Simone Kühn, senior scientist at the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.”
But please, don’t take my word for it: read it for yourself!