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Child Development Perspectives on Educational Gaming

The new issue of Child Development Perspectives, a journal published for the Society for Research in Child Development, devotes a special section to exploring the effects of video game play as they relate to child learning.

The section features five articles that touch on subjects including design principles for educational video games, mining data from video game play to learn about students' strategic thinking, video games as physical education, and children's opinions of video game play as it relates to academic learning.

And Douglas A. Gentile, the director of Iowa State University's Media Research Lab, who weighed in for a recent story about a school-based first-person shooter video game, writes about the multiple dimensions of video game effects and how they relate to students' intellectual, psychological, and emotional development.

Gentile breaks those dimensions into the amount of game play, the game's content, the game's context, the game's structure, and the game's mechanics. And he concludes that both supporters and opponents of video games for educational purposes are shortsighted in their positions that games are either harmful or beneficial.

For example, a 12-year-old boy playing Grand Theft Auto might experience poorer school performance and increased aggressive thoughts and emotions from playing the game, while at the same time develop motor skills and teamwork skills by playing the game with a joystick and with groups of people.

You'll have to subscribe to the journal, either in print or online, to read the section, or search for it at a nearby library.

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