EDC-Led Symposium Explores Role of Digital Games in Early Learning

Naomi Hupert

EDC Research Scientist Naomi Hupert (at left) led a symposium, “Designing Educational Games for Early Learners,” that examined the benefits and challenges of using digital games to support preschool children’s learning. Held at the annual Games+Learning+Society (GLS12) Conference in Madison, Wisconsin—the leading forum focused on videogames and learning in the U.S.—the symposium featured Jillian Orr of WGBH, Camellia Sanford of Rockman et al, and Phil Vahey of SRI Education. Naomi Hupert and her colleagues bring deep expertise in and divergent perspectives on digital game development, research, child development, and the learning sciences that they shared and debated during the symposium. Together, they engaged participants in exploring the following ideas: 

  • What makes a digital game educational?
  • What features of digital games are developmentally appropriate? How do these features relate to learning?
  • How do digital games support, complement, and/or supplement traditional learning in early childhood?

Naomi Hupert, co-author of a series of reports on the role of public media and technology in supporting early learning, said, “Research, including our Ready to Learn study findings, suggests that preschool teachers who use digital resources—technology, media, games—in thoughtful, developmentally appropriate ways can boost children’s early STEM learning. These findings are exciting because early STEM knowledge is key to school readiness and plays a vital role in closing opportunity gaps for children from high-need communities. But, few early childhood programs use digital resources due to concerns about which kinds of digital resources are best, how often to use them, and how best to use them to enhance children’s learning. We enjoyed discussing these issues in the symposium and appreciated hearing participants’ ideas and insights.”

Last Updated: August 2016