New Scientist: Kindergarten coders can program before they can read

July 29, 2013

ImageGoing back to school to meet the 4-year-olds who are learning to program computers thanks to a new graphics-based coding language

LORNA is 4, going on 5. I’ve never met her before, but her eyes light up when she sees me. She rushes over, blonde curls bouncing. “I’m going to sit on you!” she declares. I demur, so she climbs into the chair next to me. “I weigh forty pounds!” she exclaims.

I hand her the iPad I’m carrying and the silliness melts away in an instant. A teacher helps her load up an app, gives her a quick tutorial and she’s off, pulling at icons, stringing instructions together, building animations. Lorna is on her third day of learning to program a computer. Read more…


Wired Science – Children Play Like Scientists Work

July 28, 2011

Young children play like scientists work, according to a new research project at MIT and Stanford University.

The findings, which were published in the journal Cognition, reveal how 4- and 5-year-olds approach games methodically.

They were given a specially designed toy “that lit up and played music when the child placed certain beads on it,” says Nature. The cognitive scientists found that, when the children didn’t know which beads would activate the toy — namely they had been given what the team defined as “ambiguous evidence” — they tested each variable in turn.

Read more…

GeekDad – Girls Benefit from Video Game Co-Play

February 3, 2011

Video games sometimes get roughed up by parents, teachers, and academics as having a negative impact on kids. However, a study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University concluded that playing video games is good for girls … if they play with a parent.

In an article appearing today in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers at the School of Family Life interviewed 287 families with a child between 11 and 16 years old. They compared the gender of the kids and which video games were played to a number of measures, such as behavior, family connection, and mental well-being. Read more.

Possible Worlds: Whats in a name?

December 3, 2010


From POSSIBLE WORLDS about page:

Electronic games have an ability to immerse kids in new roles and worlds different from their own. We see this as a learning opportunity to make visible what is distinct about the world we live in through games integrated into school curricula. In particular, we want to help students disentangle misconceptions they bring to the classroom from the concepts and content they learn in the classroom, particularly in the sciences.

This research builds on the groundbreaking work of Jerome Bruner, who argued in his book book, “Actual Minds, Possible Worlds,” that narrative is central to learning. Storytelling help us “climb into” other ways of looking at the world, which allows us to see the particularities of our world more clearly.

Learn more.


Book: What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy

August 26, 2010

JPG-What VideoJames Paul Gee begins his classic book with “I want to talk about video games–yes, even violent video games–and say some positive things about them.” With this simple but explosive statement, one of America’s most well-respected educators looks seriously at the good that can come from playing video games. In this revised edition, new games like World of WarCraft and Half Life 2 are evaluated and theories of cognitive development are expanded. Gee looks at major cognitive activities including how individuals develop a sense of identity, how we grasp meaning, how we evaluate and follow a command, pick a role model, and perceive the world.

Find the book here.

Blog-Talk Radio: Game-Induced Enhancements in Adult "Fluid Intelligence"

January 20, 2010

Upcoming Show: 1/20/2010 2:00 PM

Dr. Ray Perez, program officer with the Office of Naval Research, will discuss how video games can impact adult “fluid intelligence,” the fundamental ability to reason and solve problems

in novel contexts. When people think of the U.S. Navy, they may visualize ships, planes, and other military hardware — not necessarily neuroscience or cognitive research. Scientists studying brain function point to a growing body of research suggesting that the brain continues to learn and improve cognitive function with age. Dr. Perez, who is contributing to a growing body of research on how the brain functions, will discuss the Navy’s interest in “brain plasticity” and “fluid intelligence” and how today’s neuroscientific research may literally change the way we think 10 years from now.

Listen here.

School Sees Better Days in the Future

October 15, 2009

getlaptopThe promise of technology and change, so far, has fallen short at Philadelphia’s School of the Future.

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
As it was conceived, the School of the Future was to be a study in contrast to the typical big-city high school.When the $62 million facility opened in 2006 with a relatively small student population, a computer-based curriculum delivered with the latest technology tools, and a unique partnership with corporate giant Microsoft, it set out to upend a secondary school model that had changed little since the industrial era and had spelled failure for too many students here and in cities around the country.  Read more.