Can Gaming Help Kids Develop Social and Emotional Skills?

Do video games have to be non-social, violent, or mindless for users to want to play?

The gaming center Games+Learning+Society doesn’t think so. Their role playing game Crystals of Cador is an action packed and engaging game that helps young people develop empathy, self-control, and other “non-cognitive” skills that are needed for success in school, career, and life.

“Why not build games that actually save people. Save the world,” said co-director of Games+Learning+Society, Constance Steinkuehler. In Crystals, you, the player, are a space travelling robot who gets marooned on a foreign planet. The goal is to enlist aliens to help you put your spaceship back together only using nonverbal cues. The game not only improves students’ social and emotional abilities through virtual interactions, the it is also fully equipped to assess the player’s progress while they play, making the playing of the game and the assessing of the player one in the same.

Watch the creators explain how their game is taking social and emotional learning into the 21st century in the video above.


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