Educational computer games are to be introduced into classes in the north and north-east to see if it boosts children’s learning ability.
Primary schoolchildren will get to play “brain training” exercises on Nintendo DS game consoles as part of their regular day.
The scheme is to be tested in 32 schools in Aberdeenshire, Dundee, East Ayrshire and the Western Isles after Easter.
It will look into the effect of Nintendo’s More Brain Training on pupils maths ability.
The research on 900 pupils follows a successful study at St Columba’s Primary in Dundee where a daily dose of handheld consoles were found to improve the maths skills as well as concentration and behaviour levels of primary five and six pupils.
The Scottish curriculum development agency, Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), has the support of HM Inspectorate of Education for the test scheme.
LTS development officer for games-based learning Derek Robertson said: “The initial pilot project that used the Nintendo DS and Dr Kawashima produced fascinating results. Not only was there a marked and significant improvement in attainment in mental maths but there was also an improvement in concentration levels, behaviour and self regulation in the learning process. It will be interesting to see how this applies on a larger scale.”
Primary two and three pupils at Banchory Primary School, in Aberdeenshire, have been using a slightly different game already this year, Nintendog.
Teacher Ruth MacDonald said the children had “taken to it like ducks to water”.
“I have noticed a huge difference in motivations – especially if I dare say it with the boys – in writing,” Mrs MacDonald said.
Alehousewells Primary, at Kemnay, Aberdeenshire, will be getting consoles on Monday. Acting head teacher Irene Duncan said: “It is very exciting because this is another way of supporting children with mental math strategies to help raise attainment. I am all for that.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “We recognise and value the use of technology, where appropriate, to greatly enhance the learning experience and to motivate and engage children to learn. For our young people technology is part of their everyday lives and it is essential we engage with and debate the latest research into the best way for our children to learn.”