In Study 1, the major hypotheses were 1) children in the computer software program group would be more interested in the activity they performed by using the computer as the delivery mechanism than children in the classroom lecture group; 2) children in the computer software program group would be more interested in the brain than children in the classroom lecture group; and 3) children in the computer software program group would gain more knowledge about the brain than children in the classroom lecture group. In Study 2, the major hypothesis was that children will have greater knowledge gain when allowed to play more of the game.
Overall, the results of the two studies indicate that there is substantial value in using computer interactivity to present educational content to children of middle school grades and that 1) children will play these games on their own, 2) they will gain some benefit from their use from an educational setting, 3) there is significant “Replay Value” in this particular game, and 4) they like the venue and mechanism as a form of providing content in an educational and fun manner.
The studies indicate strong interest by students in the game’s neuroscience content. There are also significant gains in knowledge due to extended exposure to the game.
Some additional observations that were not part of the formal testing design were that students remarked that they wanted the game “now” and that it should not be made just part of an education curriculum, but rather be available in game stores because they “…will buy it now” and “It is good enough for playing at home”. Boys and girls of all grades enjoyed the game and thought they learned something new from it. Interestingly, some students remarked weeks later that they remembered the material and it helped them when some of the information from the game came up in school classroom situations.
Software games written with a strong educational value will be received well by children. Their incessant drive towards using computers for both fun and education means that a software game that combines both aspects successfully can have a strong societal and educational impact. Neuromatrix has all the indications of being one of those landmark games.