What’s more, playing rhythm games leads to improved algebra skills, Shasek says, and reading fast-moving notes in games like DDR helps train children’s eyes for reading text. No ones really sure why these games have the cognitive effects that they do, but the working theories involve increased oxygenation to the brain and hidden, unlocked power in the cerebellum, the brain’s motion and balance center. Whatever the science, Shasek says introducing the games also has fringe benefits like decreased absenteeism and improved attentiveness among students.
Shasek is hoping to expand her program to teachers and schools across the country through her web site, Generation Fit, which includes some great videos of students getting their dance on. She’s also trying to expand the benefits to the adult workplace with Revive! Nation, a program focused on adding rhythm games to break/lunch rooms. With physical activity on the decline among kids and adults, we can only say more power to her.