What it is: Mind 360 is a website version of the Nintendo DS game Brain Age. The games on Mind 360 are aimed toward sharpening memory, increasing focus, build logical reasoning skills, increase alertness and awareness, boost productivity, and exercise the mind. Each player gets a virtual personal brain trainer that helps build up brain function. Students (or teachers) can play games and increase mental fitness by strengthening key cognitive functions including memory, attention, executive functions, thinking and reasoning, and visual perception. Mind 360 has teamed up cognitive psychologists with game designers to boost mental health while having fun. The brain training programs are tailored to the individual user. Students also have the option to play against other students while building their mental strength. The games are split up into the skill that it is building. There are memory, attention, logic and reasoning, virtual perception, and exectutive function games. In the training section, students can choose a student fitness program to help boost grades by “enhancing those cognitive skills required for overall better learning including attention, memory, thinking & reasoning, and more.” The virtual personal coach will guide students through the program with constant personal feedback. What I like about the Mind 360 website is the break down that each game and skill comes with. Each game shows which cognitive skill it is improving, how to improve brain health, scientific studies, FAQ’s, and a glossary. For teachers, this makes it simple to quickly find a game that meets your individual learners needs.
How to integrate Mind 360 into the classroom: Mind 360 would be an excellent way to start each day. Many of the games take 3-5 minutes to complete (not including all the levels) making it ideal for a brain boosting start to the school day. In the computer lab setting Mind 360 is a great site to bookmark for students to work on as they finish work. Many times my students will ask to play on Addicting Games, Mini Clip, YouTube, etc. This is a great game site that students will enjoy but is serving the greater purpose of increased learning. Mind 360 is also a great site to bookmark on classroom computers. Students can take turns visiting Mind 360 throughout the week so that each student gets to exercise their brain at least once a week. These games are a lot of fun and when students start keeping track of their progress, they will want to continue play using their account at home. I am of the opinion that if students are going to play games, they should be games that increase learning in some way!
Tips: Mind 360 is currently in Beta, right now you can register and play the games for free but it looks like they may eventually charge for some of their games or features. Mind 360 says that it is appropriate for high school and college students, however I think most of the games are appropriate for even primary grades. For primary students, I would create a few classroom accounts for students to play on so they don’t each have to sign up for accounts. Be sure to sign up for your own account, this is a great way to keep your brain in shape too!
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Mind 360 in your classroom.