Join our bloggers as they share their experiences on the challenges and joys of helping children succeed in school.
Working memory is not a new topic for my blog. I have mentioned it several times before. It is an important topic to learn about because students who have working memory issues often struggle more in school. Essentially, “working memory” is the place in the brain where information is held while being used to do a task.
If I ask my student to write an academic paragraph about the story we just read, he will need to remember the pieces of an academic paragraph as well as what happened in the story. This might go beyond the limits of his working memory. One strategy I teach my students in this situation is to first write down the pieces of an academic paragraph. That way they do not have quite so much to manipulate in working memory. For a better understanding of what it is, read my earlier post called Can Working Memory Problems Cause Difficulty in School?
I recently ran across an interesting website that claims that working memory (and thus intelligence) can be improved by playing a game called Dual-N-Back.
To play Dual-N-Back, you have to remember two things at one time. You have to remember where a box appears on the screen as well as what letter is said. (In the beginning, you have to remember what keys to press on the keyboard to play the game, too.) To top that off, you also have to remember not where it was the last time you saw it, but where it was two times back (or three times back)! Here are the instructions for how to play, but the easiest way to learn the game is to give it a try. I found that at first I could not do it at all, but I quickly got better as I played.
This is a challenging game and actually very fun. Even if it does not improve working memory, it can be just plain fun to play. Some have said that playing it also helps improve a child’s ability to focus his attention. If you find that to be true, let others know about it. That would be a fantastic benefit—getting to play a game that possibly improves working memory and helps focus attention. Best of all, it’s free!