The medium is not the message
Giving every child access to a digital
device will deliver technological literacy but will do little for
neurological development. That development is dependent on the
particular ways students interact with the content on the device.
Similarly, the child has a
neuro-framework; a scaffold for learning, but that doesn’t mean they’re
using it effectively. Fortunately, research tells us we can usefully
stimulate these structures at an early age and that video games
potentially do that job well. That is our domain.
One size does not fit all
Our aim is individualised learning. Done well, we differentiate learning not just on perceived ability,
but on a range of different needs and conditions particular to the
child. The pedagogy of the game works well in delivering this
To err is divine
Inherent in Edu-fy’s approach to
neuro-framework scaffolding is the positivity of failure. A baby will
stumble and bumble their way through learning to talking and walk,
testing different approaches and making incremental adjustments that
work over time. Hey presto! They’re walking!
Contrast this with the 19th century educational paradigm that marked out failure as a negative force.
Repetition requires purpose
Learning to drive is a complex task which
most people would say they have mastered. Mathematics is probably less
complex but few say they are skilled in it. A key difference is that we
learn to drive in the real world, with a clear purpose in mind, while
mathematics is almost always done out of context.
To encourage repetition we need to offer
an intrinsic reward. If we tantalise with the possibility of a win the
child’s brain releases the dopamine that helps build the neural
connections involved in memory retrieval. With our games we bind
challenging quests to skills acquisition.
Automacity is key
Once we establish a desirable journey the
learner will make repeated attempts to access and retrieve that
information. The path turns into a road, then a highway, then a
superhighway to the storage centres of the brain. At that point we have
automaticity, or automatic retrieval. That is a necessary skill for the
brain to manage large amounts of information and convert it into the
conceptual knowledge required for numeracy.