Games can be a positive force in children’s lives, according to Sesame Workshop’s Joan Ganz Cooney Center, which has just released its report entitled Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children’s Learning and Health that gives recommendations for the media industry, government and others to use digital games to improve children’s health and learning.
It’s no secret that exposure to violence, sex and addiction reports associated with vidgames have been a concern for parents, educators and health pros. But the Game Changer report, based on market and scientific research, offers a new perspective on using games to help kids learn healthy behaviors, traditional skills, and critical thinking.
The report also zeroes in on the connections that games and digital media can make in promoting children’s potential, such as Sesame Street’s Color Me Hungry and Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution, which is being used in hundreds of schools across the US and help kids learn about nutrition, healthy habits and exercise.
And since kids spend just as much time with digital media as they do in school, remarks Cooney’s executive director Michael Levine, there should be a way to find a modern formula for learning.
The report indexes more than 30 examples of learning and health games and research projects, along with a list of federally funded game R&D projects, with investments from the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Education.
Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children’s Learning and Health is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, and is co-authored by the Cooney Center’s Ann My Thai, David Lowenstein and Dixie Ching, and David Rejeski of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It’s available for download at www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/publications.