Educators Turn to Games for Help

wired_logoAUSTIN, Texas — Video games have come under tremendous political pressure in recent years because of an increase in violent and sexual content. But schools soon may be using the technology that powers those games to help teach America’s children.

Earlier this year, Washington state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, a Democrat, tried to ban the sale of violent games. While the courts continually have struck down these types of initiatives, both state and national politicians continue looking for ways to regulate the video-game industry.

Academics, though, want to use the underlying software that powers the games to create learning simulations. The Digital Media Collaboratory, one of several technology laboratories at the University of Texas at Austin’s IC2 Institute, works with partners from the public and private sectors to develop computer games that can be used by schools, businesses and governments.

“We want to look at transforming the appeal of games for entertainment into the realm of games for learning,” said project director Melinda Jackson. “We want to combine the academic resources of the Digital Media Collaboratory with the indigenous resources here in Austin.” Read more.

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