Video games and learning

Learn about: Video games and learning from Judy Willis, MD, MEd,...
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Video games and learning

Have you ever wondered why your child is so motivated and engaged when they play a video game and doesn't quite show that enthusiasm about school work. I wanted to deconstruct the power of the video game and see if there is something we could use in our school learning or learning at home. The elements that make up a video game so compelling are based on the brains motivator. The brain seeks pleasure, it loves this dopamine that comes out under certain circumstances. When dopamine is released, the brain likes it and it gets pleasure. Here's what turns out releases dopamine, the video game effect. Achievable challenge and incremental progress, feedback that you are making incremental progress. Here's a video game player: They start playing at level one. If they already have mastery of what level one is, they don't have to wait for other students or other players to be at that level; like what happens in the classroom. The game puts them at level two, where it's a challenge. If they can do level two, the game will right away put them at level three. Now they are at the challenge. The brain will only release dopamine if it is doing something it couldn't do before. It needs to be in a challenged state.

Learn about: Video games and learning from Judy Willis, MD, MEd,...


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Judy Willis, MD, MEd


After graduating Phi Beta Kappa as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Judy Willis attended UCLA School of Medicine where she was awarded her medical degree. She remained at UCLA and completed a medical residency and neurology residency, including chief residency. She practiced neurology for 15 years before returning to university to obtain her teaching credential and master's of education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then taught in elementary and middle school for 10 years.

Dr. Judy Willis is an authority on brain research and its applications regarding learning. With the unique background as a parent, neurologist, classroom teacher, and neuro-educator she writes extensively for parenting magazines and professional educational journals. Dr. Willis has written six books for parents and educators about applying brain research to parenting and teaching.

Dr. Willis is on the adjunct faculty of the Graduate School of Education, University of California and gives presentations to parents and educators nationally and internationally about how to help children learn joyfully and successfully. She is on the Board of Directors of the Hawn Foundation, dedicated to helping children improve academic performance and acquire vital social and emotional skills. In 2011, she was honored by Edutopia, as a “Big Thinker on Education”.

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