A new report (PDF) published by the Joan Ganz Clooney Center at Sesame Workshop discusses the potentially positive effects of video games in educating children and promoting their physical well-being. (And if you can't trust the fine people at Sesame Workshop, who can you trust?)
Studies that look at the effects of video games on kids have been, with a focus on safe virtual worlds, and devices such as the Nintendo Wii that encourage physical activity.
The new report "Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children's Learning and Health" (PDF) urges educators as well as government and the health care industry to look beyond the stereotype of video games as harmful.
Video games have been shown to help children learn vital foundational and 21st-century skills, including:
- Content (from rich vocabulary to science to history)
- Skills (from literacy to math to complex problem-solving)
- Creation of artifacts (from videos to software code)
- Systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships as a whole)
Experts in the field of digital learning interviewed for this study concluded that digital games have strong potential. Kids love playing them, but the research has not fully demonstrated with precision why or how they work, as well as how to design them for specific learning goals. Until more is known, our nation cannot fully harness their benefits.
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