We’re busy putting together some podcasts designed to help parents understand and use video games with their kids. And while we won’t spend much time on all of the brain research, it was nice to see eSchoolNews publish a useful article last week summarizing the contents of a couple of MIT papers titled Moving Learning Games Forward: Obstacles, Opportunities, and Openness and The Instructional Powers of Digital Games, Social Networking Simulations and How Teachers Can Leverage Them.

As video games continue to permeate our culture, schools and students are increasingly interested in using video games for learning. This interest has prompted universities and neurologists to explore what makes a successful educational game, what the current barriers to adoption are, and how gaming as a whole affects the brain.

According to a recent paper by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), games, when developed correctly and used appropriately, can engage players in learning that is specifically applicable to school curriculum—and teachers can leverage the learning in these games without disrupting the worlds of either “play” or school.

If you have questions about whether video games are good for kids or how to use them, the eSchoolNews article and these papers are great places to start.

To read the entire article online, you may need to create a free account at eSchoolNews. (But you should be able to print out the article without an account by clicking the Print button that’s just to the right of the article’s title.)

You might also be interested in a couple of articles over at the Education Arcade. Both articulate research demonstrating the power of gaming and specific ways for teachers to use them as instructional tools.

Looking for specific games and simulations to use in the classroom? Try:

To learn more, head over to the Having Fun is a Good Thing and Video Games in Education sites.

    Have fun!