IT Infrastructure & Management Federal File

Federal Game Aims to Curb Youth Conflicts

By Andrew Trotter — April 29, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A computer game created by a federal agency aims to teach children conflict-resolution skills and offer an alternative to violent computer and video games that have become popular with young people.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which primarily tries to resolve labor conflicts in the adult workplace, developed the interactive game, called “Cool Schools: Where Peace Rules.”

Childhood is where human capacities to get along are rooted, agency officials said.

“These are skills to be learned early,” said FMCS spokesman John E. Arnold.

Interactive-game expert F.J. Lennon created the game with help from federal mediators, outside educators, and developmental psychologists at the University of Maryland College Park.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see our Federal news page.

It is aimed at children ages 5 to 7, but some experts said older children also enjoy it.

Colorful animated characters are presented in a series of conflicts at school; players must choose methods of resolving each conflict from a set of choices that can be from the perspective of victim, perpetrator, or observer.

In one scenario involving a line of children—whom the teacher has told not to hit or tattle—one child punches another, who tells the teacher. The player is asked to choose the teacher’s best response. (The answer is to give both children a timeout, rather than punish one or the other only.)

“They’ll learn skills of empathy [and] conflict resolution,” said Mary Ellen LaCien, a former federal mediator who tested the game in Chicago-area schools.

The five-year project cost about $1 million, drawn from the agency’s appropriations to support conciliation and mediation in communities, said Frances L. Leonard, the chief financial officer of the FMCS.

The game may be downloaded free from the curriculum-sharing Web site

It is not unprecedented for the federal government to develop a computer game to influence young people. In 2002, the U.S. Army released the first version of “America’s Army,” an online war-fighting game that is popular worldwide.

A version of this article appeared in the April 30, 2008 edition of Education Week


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Infrastructure & Management One Solution to Maintaining 1-to-1 Devices? Pay Students to Repair Them
Hiring students to help with the repair process is one way school districts are ensuring the sustainability of their 1-to-1 programs.
4 min read
Sawyer Wendt, a student intern for the Altoona school district’s IT department, repairs a Chromebook.
Sawyer Wendt, who's been a student intern for the Altoona district's tech department since junior year, is now studying IT software development in college.
Courtesy of Jevin Stangel, IT technician for the Altoona school district
IT Infrastructure & Management Schools Get Relief on Chromebook Replacements. Google Extends Device Support to 10 Years
Schools have typically had to replace Chromebooks every three to five years.
4 min read
Photo of teacher working with student on laptop computer.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
IT Infrastructure & Management What We Know About District Tech Leaders, in Charts
Male chief technology officers in K-12 tend to come from technological backgrounds while most female tech leaders are former teachers.
1 min read
Illustration concept of leadership, using wooden cut-out figures and arrows.
Liz Yap/Education Week via Canva
IT Infrastructure & Management How Schools Can Avoid Wasting Money on Technology
A district leader shares ways to ensure ed-tech tools are worth the investment.
2 min read
Illustration of laptop with checklist on the screen
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty