The Thinking Skills Club , an after school activity that uses online games as a way of tuning up children’s cognitive gears, has created a YouTube video giving an overview of the site itself and how it works. Using Snow Line, a game in the Executive Function section of the site, club founder Mitch Moldofsky leads a virtual tour that includes playing the game, demonstrating how the “brain puzzles” that track a child’s progress are built, and even linking up to research about the supporting skills that underlie the choice of games.
“I think transparency is very important in this field,” says Moldofsky. “The research is so new, people quite rightly have questions. My site is designed so that parents and educators can find those answers without even leaving the game.”
Accessibility is also important. Moldofsky says the Thinking Skills Club can be viewed by anyone at any time just by visiting the website. Teachers can even give it a test drive in their classroom before deciding whether tracking progress via the brain puzzles on the site is something they want to do. “Maximum flexibility equals maximum usability,” says Moldofsky.
The plethora of information about new technology to use in the classroom comes at teachers at a fantastic rate. Apple, Samsung and Google, for instance, are all trying to get hardware into schools this Fall, fighting one another tooth and nail for a piece of the classroom pie.
One thing complicating the picture is the difficulty teachers often face in getting a hands-on preview of these shiny new technological toys. Even when they do, without an experienced colleague to sit down and demonstrate how to apply it in the classroom, the onus falls on individual teachers to figure out exactly what to do. More often than not, unfortunately, that means putting the decision off for another year. The Thinking Skills Club’s instructional video addresses this problem to make implementing the program easy for instructors.