Teaching Executive Functioning Skills Using Google Tools and Apps

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  1. 1. LearningWorks for Kids Teaching Executive Functioning Skills Using Google Tools and Apps Randy Kulman Email: randy@learningworks for kids.com Twitter: @rkulman Pinterest: pinterest.com/rkulman EdTechTeam New England Summit
  2. 2. Take-Aways Brief review of Executive Functions (EFs) / Thinking Skills Why EFs are crucial, particularly to kids with ADHD, LD, ASD, and Alternative Learners How games, apps And Google Tools can support, practice, and help acquire EFs Why we want to use Google Tools and apps to teach EFs with Alternative Learners Why games and apps are not enough How to transfer game based skills to real world activities
  3. 3. What are Executive Functions? Cognitive capacities that enable independent, purposeful, goal-directed behavior The CEO or the conductor of the brain A collection of brain processes that guide thought and behavior Located primarily in the prefrontal cortex but involving other neural networks
  4. 4. Executive Functions in Daily Life Infancy; when a child can keep an object in mind while playing hide-and-seek Preschoolers; learning to inhibit behavior such as not touching a hot stove and developing basic social skills Adolescence; learning to develop planning, emotional regulation, and organizational skills EFs develop slowly in many psychiatric disorders, and in particular ADHD
  5. 5. Dawson and Guare Model of Executive/Thinking Skills Focus Task Persistence Sustained attention Task initiation Self-Awareness Metacognition Social thinking Self-Control Regulation of affect Response inhibition Working Memory Organization Planning Flexibility Time Management
  6. 6. Executive/Thinking Skills in Daily Life Assembling a toy - planning and organization, focus Cleaning ones room - focus, organization Getting ready for school in the morning: planning, time management Completing chores: focus, time management, working memory
  7. 7. Executive/Thinking Skills in School Doing homework - organization, planning, focus, time management Phonological awareness - working memory Written language: organization, focus, planning Math word problems: working memory, focus, planning
  8. 8. The Importance of Teaching Thinking and Executive Skills Preschoolers who learn EFs perform better academically (Diamond, McClelland) Improving working memory enhances reading, reduces ADHD symptoms (Cogmed research) Self Control enhances future life success (Marshmallow test) Protects children from mental health issues
  9. 9. Train Your Brain for Success
  10. 10. Research on Executive Functions and Video Games Games (non video) that increase cognitive load and used as a teaching tool by parents reduce ADHD symptoms in Preschoolers (Halperin, 2012) Combination of board and video games improve fluid reasoning and processing speed (Mackey, 2011) Working memory video games improve WM, fluid reasoning skills (Cogmed studies) Computer-based training improves executive attention in preschoolers (Rueda, 2005)
  11. 11. Research on how video games improve executive functions Improves processing speed and time management (Green and Bevalier, 2009) Improves working memory (Klingberg, et al, 2007) Increases pro-social behaviors (Gentile et al, 2009) Improves problem solving skills (Gee, 2007) Enhances social involvement (Ferguson, 2010)
  12. 12. Why use video games and digital media to help Alternative Learners? Kids with Learning or Attention Difficulties Video Games and Digital Media May become easily bored and unable to sustain attention Good video games and digital media are often multi modal, requiring ever-changing skills and employing video, sounds, words, and actions that help keep kids interested and engaged. Often require immediate reinforcement or consequence to stay focused on a task. Video games provide clear and immediate feedback, constantly letting the player know what he is doing wrong, and what he is doing right. Often require that their body or mind to be actively engaged. Video games and digital media are extremely engaging and many require physical and cognitive involvement.
  13. 13. Why use video games and digital media to help Alternative Learners? Kids with Learning or Attention Difficulties Video Games and Digital Media Usually have problems with following directions. Video games teach by trial and error or through guided discovery, requiring that the player understand the instructions in order to succeed. May struggle to learn new information and experience frustration or low self-esteem as a result. Most negative feed back from video games and other digital media occurs privately. This causes less embarrassment and frustration, while teaching the player how to handle these emotions
  14. 14. How do games, apps, and digital media improve executive functions? Great variation in how they may or may not help, similar to physical exercise Effectiveness is determined in part by level of stimulation and engagement Supportprovides external structure to help regulate or scaffold skills Practiceguided rehearsals in repeatedly using a new executive skill Masterthe child owns the skill --is motivated and knowledgeable about where and when to apply it
  15. 15. How do digital technologies teach executive functions? The LearningWorks for Kids model: Games as a vehicle for "engaging the gears" of a child's brain Opportunities for children to practice an executive skill in a fun and engaging fashion A teaching opportunity for parents, teachers, and clinicians An opportunity to detect, reflect, and connect on the use of executive skills A "new literacy," an understanding of ways of doing, thinking, and valuing things in the context of relationships and school practices (James Paul Gee)
  16. 16. How well do game based skills transfer to the real world? Game play alone results in modest improvements in real-world executive skills Children with learning and attention problems have problems in generalizing strategies Kids like to talk about playing video games and may be willing to learn from that Games prompt partnering and motivation to learn executive skills Practice and rehearsal of executive skills
  17. 17. BUTgames are not enough!!! The key to success is effective teaching Teachers (including peers, parents, and embedded instruction) make the connection between game- based learning and real-world skills Actual learning requires knowledge of the skill, understanding how and when to use it, and practice across many situations
  18. 18. Executive Skills Questionnaire
  19. 19. Prescription of Games, Technologies, and Recommendations
  20. 20. Quizzes and Assessments
  21. 21. Thank You Randy Kulman, Ph.D randy@learningworksforkids.com @rkulman on Twitter www.pinterest.com/rkulman www.learningworksforkids.com

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