Entertainment Software Association (ESA) CEO Michael D. Gallagher will speak to Congress today in an attempt to advocate the advancement and growth about using computer and video games in education. The hearing, taking place before the House of Representative’s Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, is entitled “STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in Action: Inspiring the Science and Engineering Workforce of Tomorrow. In addition, Gallagher wishes to encourage students to pursue careers in these fields.
Educators are starting to recognize the value of entertainment software as a valuable teaching aid, as evident by the recent decision of schools in Auburn, Maine giving iPads to kindergarten students. Not only will the advancement of computer and video games being used in education help develop important life and workforce skills and grant knowledge, these tools are able to motivate students to gain an interest in science and technology at a young age, something that seems to currently be an issue.
“We commend Chairman Hall and Ranking Member Johnson for their leadership on
this issue. Our industry’s interactive technology provides students with a
new mode of learning,” says Gallagher. “With the power to improve critical
thinking and problem solving skills, games are next-generation learning
tools that have the potential to transform the educational experiences of
children across the country. We encourage educators and policy makers to
take steps now to incorporate these resources into classrooms and ensure
that our young people are equipped for success in emerging STEM careers.“
This is nothing new for the ESA; they’ve been active in the pursuit of garnering interest in science and technology for several years, being a leader in the Obama Administration’s 2009 “Educate to Innovate” campaign, awarding scholarships for aspiring young video game developers through their ESA Foundation Scholarship Program, and partnering with the White House Office of Science Technology Policy as a part of the First Annual National STEM Video Game Challenge, a competition that has the kids across the country designing innovative video games. Even Gallagher himself has been extremely active in the cause, being a judge for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Apps for Healthy Kids” competition, a contest where software developers, students, and game designers created video games to encourage children to eat healthy and stay physically active.
Skeptics may argue about the “dangers” of introducing technology and video games, a constant hot issue on Capital Hill, at such a young age, but as someone who all but grew up on Sesame Street, and then later the Atari and Sega Genesis, I’d like to think I turned out fine. So do these people.