“Games are... the most ancient and time honored vehicle for learning. They are the original technology educational technology, the natural one, having received the seal of approval from natural selection”, states Chris Crawford, The Art of Computer Design Game Design, 1982. Gaming is an opportunity to simulate new scenarios before they occur, an opportunity to learn and expand. Since 1996, researchers from Utah State University’s department of Family, Consumer and Human Development (FCHD) have studied families enrolled in the “U.S. Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project” to determine the range of influence early parent-child engagement has on later academic achievements. They observed mother-toddler and father-toddler interactions in 229 low-income families at age 2, at age 3 and then again in the 5thgrade. The researchers looked at two different family types, those with resident biological fathers and those without, and found that in both these family situations, children perform better academically when mothers teach more during play with their toddlers. This study confirms the Kavanaugh, Eizenman, and Harris (1997) study where children of 2½ years, in pretend play situations with parents, showed independent agency and intersubjectivity. Gaming is a form of pretend play.
Seventy-two percent of American families are already involved in played video games with their children. Parents themselves were the initial generation to play video games and have been playing them for decades. In fact, adults dominate the terrain as gamers. The average gamer age is 37 with women ages 18-49 comprising 53% of the gamer population. According to a study conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, more than a third (35 percent) of parents play computer and video games and 93 percent of these parents have children who also play them. Gaming is not just related to video games. The purchase of board games has increased 10% every year since 2009. These purchasers are also women age 18-49. These statistics show gaming as natural mechanism for academic/ school family engagement and academic improvement
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Ida Byrd-Hill is President of Uplift, Inc., a 501 (c ) 3 nonprofit Idea Incubator whose mission is reconstructing communities one idea at a time Utilizing Property (Intellectual, Real Estate and Technology) to Lift Individuals From Tragedy. She launched Fluke – the Wealth Building Game of Accidental Inventions and soon to launch Fluke Tournaments to spur inventing and entrepreneurship. www.upliftinc.org