ESconS, CBI and Education

ESconSTDLC member Beth Rogowsky, a Post Doc at Rutgers University, recently won the People's Choice Award for a poster she presented at the ESCoNS (Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society) conference in September 2011. The study found that 6th grade students, whose standard language arts curriculum was supplemented with CBI training Fast ForWord showed a statistically significant improvement in their writing skills than the control group who received standard language arts curriculum alone.

Having a background as a middle school teacher for fourteen years, with an MS in Instructional Technology, Beth Rogowsky is thrilled about ESCoNS. The newly formed organization allows researchers like herself, from around the world, to come together to study how the brain changes in response to computerized training. After finding out about the society from Paula Tallal, she remembers thinking, "FINALLY! Gaming, computer-science and education unite!"

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 21 million or 87% of those aged 12 to 17 use the internet and 11 million of them go online daily (Lenhart, Madden, Hitlin, 2005).  Eighty-one percent of teen internet users play games online which represents 17 million gamers.  The high percentage of teens using the internet presents educators with an unprecedented opportunity -- to develop computer-based educational instruction in a gaming format. 

Beth Rogowsky recalls an earlier time when she earned her Master's Degree in Instructional Technology: "At that time, the focus of the degree program was on instructional applications for business. Education had not caught up to business in terms of using technology for training. I'm proud to say that we (educators) are now on the bandwagon. Schools are online and teachers are going beyond using computers as word processors and glorified encyclopedias."

In the school where Rogowsky taught, teachers are using a district-purchased CBI called Fast ForWord. The program is designed to improve students' cognitive and literacy skills. Now, with the creation of EsCons, she can share her research with other interested scientists, educators, and people in the entertainment software industry. Members of ESCoNS hope to use this organization to create more effective computer games using advances in cognitive neuroscience to improve learning, and to develop interventions for a variety of mental and neurological disorders. Beth Rogowsky concludes, "The game manufactors have so much to offer education." Reciprocally, educators and cognitive scientists have a great deal to offer gamers in helping them make games that are not only engaging and motivating, but potentially cognitively enhancing as well. Beth Rogowsky concludes, "These are exciting times, indeed."

More about ESCoNS

Specifically, ESCoNS hopes to:

  • Bring together investigators in the basic and clinical sciences whose work focuses on improving neural system functioning through computerized training.
  • Discuss ways in which this science informs treatment development for impaired neural systems in neurological and neuropsychiatric illness.
  • Consider ways in which cognitive training approaches can make use of advances in entertainment software for the development of scalable therapeutic tools. More about ESCoNS