Ran across a telling stat in a press release to promote a videogame today.
Seems that Nintendo commissioned Wakefield Research to interview 400 kids via telephone about their feelings about math. The kids were between nine and 14 years old and the survey was conducted Dec. 12-23 of last year, when most were out on holiday break.
The results were disturbing:
One in five kids believed they were more likely to become a pro athlete than get an A or B in math class.
More than one-third said math was their most difficult subject. Nearly one-third had negative feelings about the subject; 18 percent said math was boring and 13 percent called it, ahem, "torture."
Of course, Nintendo wants to "help" all the children of America with its new "Personal Trainer: Math" videogame for the Nintendo DS that it promises will "provide a fun and rewarding way for people to improve their basic math abilities."
Now, my kids are going to play videogames regardless, so maybe it's better they learn a little math rather than trying to kill the zombies in some fictional Texas town.
The game has 40 fast-paced exercises, using basic addition and multiplication and works its way to more more extensive multiplication tables and calculation ladders. There are daily math drills to keep users' skills sharp and attendance records for users to see how they improve week to week and month to month.
I haven't tried this game yet, and I hope to, but it looks promising and here's hoping more game-makers can stop all the bomb-and-gouge games for a second to develop a few games, like this one, that will help develop our kids' minds instead of just their hand-eye coordination.