Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, and violence towards women. Critics argue that these games desensitize players to violence, reward players for simulating violence, and teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.
Valve recently launched a free initiative called Teach With Portals that aims to help teachers use the game Portal 2 to engage students in learning science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and critical thinking. By converting its level-building software, Hammer Editor, into a much easier to use interface called Puzzle Maker, Valve has made it possible for anyone to design challenging Portal rooms. The Teach With Portals website also offers community-submitted lesson plans that utilize the game and align with national STEM standards so teachers can directly incorporate them into their curriculum.
The inspiration for Teach With Portals came in part from a project called Learn With Portals, in which seventh graders from Evergreen School in Washington who were working on a spatial reasoning project visited Valve last year.
While serious games have been explored in academic settings, the genre has lacked support from big video game developers to make a hit and to date, widespread commercial success for serious games has remained out of reach. But Valve’s entrance into this space could be just the shot in the arm needed to get serious games into the mainstream.
But one of their most unusual initiatives, the Online Leadership Program, teaches teens to build online video games and virtual worlds that deal with domestic and global issues – everything from poverty to disaster relief – and ...
Stroke patients once considered too disabled to regain function in their affected limbs are now showing signs of recovery because of a new therapy that utilizes the Nintendo Wii.
Dr. McNulty’s data shows that an intensive, two-week training program based on the Wii can result in significant improvements in the way stroke patients are able to use their limbs, even for people that had a stroke many years ago. “It was previously thought that the movement and function stroke patients had at the time they left hospital was the only recovery they would make,” says Dr. McNulty. “But we have worked with people who have had strokes one month to 21 years ago, and excitingly, they all improve,” she added.
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