A video game a day, makes the child smarter all the way

A video game a day, makes the child smarter all the way

Digital development

A video game a day, makes the child smarter all the way

As more children grow up playing video games, educators are partnering with game developers and scientists to create new interactive experiences for the classroom.
A trio of new games were developed to make subjects like world culture, molecular biology and space exploration more accessible and fun for young minds.

According to a new ‘Kids and Gaming 2009’ report from the NPD Group, among all children in the United States aged 2-17, 82 percent, or 55.7 million, are currently gamers. Of these gamers, 9.7 million are aged 2-5, representing the smallest segment, while 12.4 million are aged 9-11, making up the largest segment. Just as kids have embraced music video games like Activision’s ‘Guitar Hero 5’ and MTV Games’ ‘The Beatles: Rock Band’ and sports games like Electronic Arts’ ‘Madden NFL 10’ and ‘FIFA 10’, educators and researchers are hoping that games like ‘Immune Attack’, ‘Discover Babylon’, ‘Virtual Heroes’ and ‘Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond’ will engage and educate youngsters.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) game developer Escape Hatch Entertainment created ‘Immune Attack’ to plunge 7th through 12th graders into the microscopic world of immune system proteins and cells.

The goal of the game is to save a patient suffering from a bacterial infection. Along the way, players gain an understanding of cellular biology and molecular science.

“This is a first-person shooter in which the objects you need to activate with your ray gun are proteins on the interior surface of the veins,” explains Melanie Ann Stegman, PhD, a program manager at FAS. Stegman said, data from kids who played the game show that they’re picking up much more than just vocabulary.

Students are learning intuitively how the cellular world works, including complex concepts like the functions of Monocytes and the molecular interactions among human complement factors and bacterial surface proteins. A sequel is already in development for 2010.