Can Minecraft and Angry Birds Improve Thinking Skills?

Can playing Minecraft and Angry Birds improve thinking skills in your child? How can parents and educators help kids transfer executive functioning skills used in these games to the real world? Can these game-based skills be taught to children with ADHD and autism?

These are questions our team at LearningWorks for Kids tackled in a presentation at the 2014 Assistive Technology Conference of New England. James Daley, vice president of LearningWorks for Kids, and I, Dr. Randy Kulman, presented a 90-minute workshop we called “Minecraft and Angry Birds: Building Executive Functions for Children with ADHD and Autism.” About a hundred people, primarily teachers, participated in the workshop, and they asked a variety of questions about how to use video games to improve their students’ executive functioning skills.

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We took a look at how teachers can take the skills children use in video games and apps and help apply those executive functions in the real world. We described how the planning and flexibility skills used in Angry Birds, for example, could be practiced at home and in the classroom. We also discussed why children with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders are drawn to technology and why cautions need to be taken with these children, who may have difficulties in stopping video game play or transitioning from digital play to other activities.

See the full PowerPoint presentation. If you are interested in more about ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders and video game play, check out our posts on how danger and video games help ADHD, whether you should worry about video game addiction in kids with autism, and whether kids with ADHD or autism should play video games.

 

Featured image: Flickr user SapiensBryan.

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