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Learning games take a step up

LIFESTYLE

educational gamesBy Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki Detroit Free Press
January 2, 2007

Kids trying to sell Mom and Dad on video games have a new angle — some of those hot titles may be educational. Long snubbed by game-savvy kids who prefer action and horror titles like Gears of War, educational computer games are making a comeback. The problem in recent years has been finding educational games that can match the graphic quality and speed of other video games. But that’s changing. “They’re using techniques that mainstream commercial games are using in order to catch kids’ interest and hold their interest, but coupling that with educational theory and educational content,” said Ethan Watrall, an assistant professor of information studies and media at Michigan State University who’s a researcher with MSU’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab. For older children, experts say games that put abstract concepts into real world situations, making the subject much easier to learn, can be good choices.