Children are choosing to play digital games for hours during their leisure time. On an average day, children as young as eight spend as many hours engaged in media activity as they spend in school; three-quarters of American children play computer and video games.
Despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have in fact been shown to help children gain content and vital foundational and 21st-century skills. From digital games children can learn:
- Content (from rich vocabulary to science to history)
- Skills (from literacy to math to complex problem-solving)
- Creation of artifacts (from videos to software code)
- Systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships as a whole)
Digital games can also be effective in improving children’s health — from physical fitness and health promotion to disease management.
Digital games offer a promising and untapped opportunity to leverage children’s enthusiasm and to help transform learning in America. The analysis offered here results from reviewing the literature and interviewing experts in the nascent field of digital learning.