Electronic Games in Education

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This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Education

For some educators, there is nothing wrong with fun and games. A
group called the Education Arcade recently held a conference in Los
Angeles to discuss the future of educational games. The Education
Arcade brings together international game designers, publishers,
teachers and policymakers. They say they want to lead change in the
way the world learns through computer and video games.

The conference was part of E-three, the Electronic Entertainment
Exposition. This is a yearly trade show where companies show off new
games and educational products.

The Education Arcade started at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, near Boston. Professors worked with the Microsoft
company to create what they called the Games-to-Teach Project. The
group began to explore ways to use technology in teaching and
learning. They worked with game designers to develop ideas about how
mathematics and science could mix with game playing. The Education
Arcade is the research part of this Games-to-Teach Project.

The group recently announced that a "Games for Learning"
statement will be placed on some products. This should begin to
appear in American stores in about six months. The goal is to help
people find games that are fun but will also teach. The Education
Arcade says it also wants to get businesses to produce more games
that teach.

The Entertainment Software Association says fifty percent of all
Americans age six and older play computer and video games. Sales of
such games in the United States grew eight percent last year, to
seven-thousand-million dollars. The industry group says the average
age of a game player is twenty-nine years old. And it says
thirty-nine percent are women.

Experts say developing a successful computer game can take
millions of dollars and years of work. They say many companies are
not willing to invest that much money and time in educational games
when other kinds sell better.

Still, companies have been creating systems like hand-held
educational devices made by LeapFrog. And new educational
role-playing games are being developed. M.I.T. and the Colonial
Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia are developing a game called
"Revolution." Players will get to experience the American Revolution

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy
Steinbach. This is Steve Ember.