Video games help kids learn

Last Thursday I flew to Chicago with a couple of educators to attend the Macarthur Foundation sponsored event at Newberry Library in Chicago entitled, “Do Video Games Help Kids Learn?”. I’m glad I was able to attend. We were surrounded by about 250 educators from around the United States. Higher education, K-12 from both private and public institutions gathered to hear a panel discussion that included a several notable professors and a representative of the MacArthur Foundation. We had travelled nearly six hundred miles from the southern tier of New York State but there were others who had traveled from as far as Texas and California to participate. I was the driver of the rental car and I had to orbit the for a long time in order to find a parking place and missed the panel discussion, but I did arrive in time for the questions and answers. It was captivating to hear how other educators have been using game scenarios and simulations to engage students in a variety of disciplines.

After the the Q&A we got a chance to speak with some organizations that have developed software. One of the first people I spoke to Suzanne Seggerman co-founder and president of Games for Change. I was really enthused by her discussion and her work. Games for Change uses a digital format to promote social change. We also met Barry Joseph and Rafi Santo of Global Kids another group trying to effect social change using this digital approach to learning. It was gratifying to see such positive use of this technology.

Often we only hear the negative aspects of video games. I know I’ve been appalled by the militarization and desensitization of our youth with an unending stream of violent video games, but here is the flip side. I encourage you to follow the links here and to consider how this technology might be used in ways that promote peace and understanding.

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video games, macarthur foundation, peace, social justice

One Reply to “Video games help kids learn”

  1. Hi Don,

    It was a pleasure to meet you too! I’m glad that you were inspired to some degree by our work, but I have to say, it was incredibly inspiring on our side to meet people from institutions that are not entirely known for their flexibility that are despite this fact still looking to change the ways that we think about learning and literacy. There is a lot of talk on the side of researchers and non-profits, but when I start to hear it from K-12 educators it makes me hopeful that some sort of cultural shift might actually be occurring.

    Best of luck to you! Also, you can find more information about our new media work on our blog,

    Global Kids

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