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I recently had a revelation. I was in Oakdale Junior School, Essex, watching a class of ten and 11-year-old pupils taking part in their weekly “game learning” session—that is, playing a brain-training game on 30 handheld Nintendo games consoles. The room was buzzing with quiet activity as pupils strove to beat each other—and us. Neither their teacher nor I got the best mental arithmetic score in the room. They were loving it, and told me so after at great length. It was then that the penny dropped. I realised that what I had taken for a novelty—maybe even a gimmick—was…

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