Oct. 28, 2013 Video games have an enormous impact on children's lives. But that impact isn't always seen as a positive one. Persuasive gaming, the burgeoning study of the use of gaming to educate, aims to make use of a medium that has captured the imagination of youth, and transform it into a teaching tool. American University Professor Lindsay Grace, a director of the Persuasive Play Game Studio at the university, is one of the foremost experts in the field and is looking to change the perception of gaming completely.
"You have entire generations of people who are devoted to gaming," says Professor Grace. "If we can harness that into something that motivates and educates, we can create learning environments that students will be receptive to."
Grace sees the merging of gaming and education as a significant trend in an era where technology is invading classrooms across America. The trend to playing games on mobile devices has also had an enormous impact on games.
"Games played on small screens work in a very different framework compared to games played on a large television screen," says Grace. "Mobile gaming can work very well within a classroom setting. It gives students a chance to individually interact with a learning tool, rather than just be a captive audience to a giant screen."
But there will always be skeptics when it comes to mentioning the word "game" in the same breath as the word "education." Some people will always see gaming as something that is known for hindering education and not helping it.
"To paint an entire industry with such a broad brush is not wise," he says. "Any significant medium is going to be used for a multitude of purposes. It's up to us as a society to determine which way we want to go with it."
Lindsay Grace is an internationally exhibited game artist and designer whose Critical Gameplay collection has been exhibited in Asia, Europe, North and South America. He will play a lead role in shaping a new gaming initiative developed by American University's School of Communication and its College of Arts and Sciences.
His areas of research include human-computer interaction, creative and critical gameplay, and web design and he is an expert in computer graphics, interface development, and middle-tier programming. Grace has written a number of peer-reviewed book chapters, including "Critical Gameplay: Design Techniques and Case Studies" in Designing Games for Ethics: Models, Techniques and Frameworks. He writes regularly about interactive media design and education.
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