Special Education

Mind Games

By Hollice Fisher — September 29, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Play Attention video game looks decidedly primitive. There are no lifelike graphics, three-dimensional backdrops, or special effects—not even a game controller to guide the only action: an ordinary frog hopping across the screen. But that’s the point. This game isn’t about how fast players can move a joystick or thumb a button—it’s about how well they can concentrate. Wearing a helmet equipped with sensors that monitor their brainwaves, kids with ADHD, autism, and related conditions move the frog by focusing. When they become distracted, it freezes. The idea is that as students get better at the game, they also get better at paying attention.

A student "Playing Attention"

Employing technology originally designed for NASA, Play Attention is now being used in more than 450 U.S. school systems to help students with attention problems, according to Unique Logic + Technology, the company that produces the system. “For the first time in a student’s life, he or she can see the one-to-one correlation between fidgeting and attention,” says Play Attention inventor Peter Freer, a former teacher.

In addition to the frog game, there are a handful of others, each aimed at boosting a different cognitive skill, such as short-term memory and attention stamina. Freer recommends that students “play” for 45 minutes twice a week and work with a coach to learn how to transfer skills from the game to the classroom.

Two versions of Play Attention are available: a professional package, with an unlimited user license, for $2,495, and a personal package for $1,795, limited to use by two people. Permanent improvement requires at least 40 to 60 hours of practice, Freer says. “It’s similar to learning to throw a free throw—the repetitive, deliberate type of training—so when the big game comes, you’re prepared.” More information is available at www.playattention.com.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2006 edition of Teacher

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Assessment Webinar
The State of Assessment in K-12 Education
What is the impact of assessment on K-12 education? What does that mean for administrators, teachers and most importantly—students?
Content provided by Instructure
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Proven Strategies to Improve Reading Scores
In this webinar, education and reading expert Stacy Hurst will provide a look at some of the biggest issues facing curriculum coordinators, administrators, and teachers working in reading education today. You will: Learn how schools
Content provided by Reading Horizons

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education 6 Ways to Communicate Better With Parents of Students With Learning Differences
For students who learn or think differently, a strong network of support is key. Here are 6 tips for bridging the communication gap between families and schools.
Marina Whiteleather
3 min read
network of quote bubbles
cagkansayin/iStock/Getty
Special Education New York City Will Phase Out Controversial Gifted and Talented Program
The massive change is aimed at addressing racial disparities in the biggest school system in the country.
Michael Elsen-Rooney, New York Daily News
4 min read
Students write and draw positive affirmations on poster board at P.S. 5 Port Morris, an elementary school in The Bronx borough of New York on Aug. 17, 2021. New York City will phase out its program for gifted and talented students that critics say favors whites and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children, in the nation's largest and arguably most segregated school system.
Students write and draw positive affirmations on poster board at P.S. 5 Port Morris, an elementary school in The Bronx borough of New York on Aug. 17, 2021. New York City will phase out its program for gifted and talented students that critics say favors whites and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children, in the nation's largest and arguably most segregated school system.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Special Education 3 Reasons Why Being a Special Education Teacher Is Even Harder During the Pandemic
Special education teachers were often left to navigate the pandemic on their own, a new survey shows.
6 min read
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein helps Josh Nazzaro answer questions from his teacher while attending class virtually from his home in Wharton, N.J.
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein helps Josh Nazzaro answer questions from his teacher while attending class virtually from his home in Wharton, N.J.
Seth Wenig/AP
Special Education Opinion Inclusive Teachers Must Be 'Asset-Based Believers'
Four veteran educators share tips on supporting students with learning differences as they return to classrooms during this pandemic year.
16 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty