Science

Science Federation Calls for More and Better Educational Video Games

By Rhea R. Borja — October 17, 2006 1 min read
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The U.S. departments of Education and Labor, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, should work with the video game industry to support the research and development of video games that promote learning, a report released today recommends.

Video game companies “underinvest” in the research and development of educational video games, so R&D for such games should be part of a comprehensive science and technology research program, financed in part by the federal government, suggest the authors of “Harnessing the Power of Video Games for Learning.”

Review further resources from the Federation of American Scientists’ Summit on Educational Games, including the reports, “Harnessing the Power of Video Games for Learning” and “Games, Cookies, and the Future of Education.”

The Washington-based Federation of American Scientists wrote the report, which compiled advice from almost 100 experts in science, education, and the video game industry. The experts met for a national conference on video games in October 2005 to brainstorm better ideas for developing and selling video games that teach analytical, problem-solving, and other higher-order thinking skills.

“Many recent reports warning about declining U.S. competitiveness point to an urgent need to improve workforce skills and our system of education,” FAS President Henry Kelly said in a statement. “Video games are engaging and can teach higher-order skills, and they are especially attractive to today’s young digital natives.”

‘Concrete Actions’

The business community also should play a more active role in making educational video games more available in the market, the report says. Publishers of educational software, for instance, should help develop such games for home-schooled students and the growing after-school learning market. They should also produce short video games that can be downloaded from the Internet, the report says. Those games take less time and capital to develop and pose less financial risk.

“This plan outlines concrete actions we can take to put powerful tools for teaching and learning in the hands of educators and students at a time when the need for education improvement is great,” Mr. Kelly said.

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