Two days ago, Mashable published a fascinating post on gaming and social good, taking note of the rise of video games on multiple platforms that address a whole host of global challenges. While writer Melissa Jun Rowley touched on a range of issues and challenges, the idea of games as educational tools ran throughout the post. Organizations such as Games for Change, Institute of Play, and the Games for Learning Institute all touted the educational potential for video games, noting their ability to place players/learners to engage with complex, realistic systems, and to provide players with the opportunities to experiment with solutions to real world challenges.
no child left inside
If you’ve read Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, or looked into the detail of “No Child Left Inside” legislation and initiatives,you know that broad health issues (obesity, diabetes, ADHD, and even depression), and concern over environmental awareness, tend to drive the idea of getting kids outdoors more. For a number of programs around the country, though, the stakes are even higher: environmental education is becoming an integral part of working with kids at risk of falling into lives of crime, addiction, and poverty (which make the above-mentioned health issues a bigger likelihood).
Richard Louv’s 2005 book Last Child in the Woods introduced the phrase “nature deficit disorder” into our lexicon. Louv argued that kids spend much less time outdoors, and, as a result, not only fail to develop an appreciation for and connection to nature (and, by extension, the importance of environmental challenges), but also suffer from health problems such as obesity, attention deficit disorder, and even depression to a greater degree.