Dr. Paul Howard-Jones

Paul Howard Jones

Dr. Paul Howard-Jones

Dr. Paul Howard-Jones (Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol) researches at the interface of neuroscience with educational theory, practice and policy, and he publishes in all associated areas. He was recently asked to review the potential effects of the Internet on the brain, and delivered his findings via the 2011 Nominet Trust Lecture at the UK’s Royal Society for Arts.

Dr. Howard-Jones’s scientific research combines neurocomputational modeling with functional brain imaging in order to further understand the relationship between reward and learning. He is applying this knowledge to the development of educational learning games. He was a member of the UK’s Royal Society working group on Neuroscience and Education that published its report in 2011.

In a previous life, Paul worked as a school teacher, trainer of teachers and as an inspector of schools.

Abstract: Educational Gaming and Neuroscience—The Next Level?
Some believe computer games are a hazard while others believe they can be of potential educational benefit. One thing appears certain, however, they are very effective at engaging their players.

Insights from neuroscience are providing some clues as to why this is so, and there is now a large body of research demonstrating that, unlike most other types of technology, they really are a “special” influence on the brain. Indeed, a new focus of activity within neuroscience is aimed at understanding their effects on learning and the neural process that supports it: synaptic plasticity.

Historically, attempts to develop learning games that are both fun and educational have been problematic. Dr. Paul Howard-Jones will argue we are now ready to develop, aided by the techniques and concepts of neuroscience, a new generation of highly engaging learning games that draw on our burgeoning understanding of brain function. A recent project developing technology to support teaching with immersive gaming (“twigging”) will be briefly reported.

Further Reading

Neuroscience, Games & Learning
Watch Dr. Paul Howard-Jones’s presentation from the 2012 Learning Without Frontiers Conference below. In it, Paul discusses the findings of his recent research that reviews the potential effects of video games and social media on the brain.