A group of researchers from Michigan State University are learning how children learn by studying their screen time spent playing video games on tablets.

At Kendon Elementary School in Lansing, Michigan, tablets with educational games were distributed to 40 kindergartners, as part of a research project.  The Lansing kindergartners have access to video games which focus on math and reading skills, and the researchers can learn more about how those activities affect the children’s learning by studying their screen time.

“There’s a lot of research that kids like technology and teachers like technology, but not as much showing that engaging in video games that look like learning causes learning,” said Amy Parks, an MSU associate professor.

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She and fellow researcher Laura Tortorelli will examine how long children engage with various games, and how they master them, in order to better understand how educational video games impact children. Parks says that the goal is not to increase the amount of screen time, but to maximize the educational use of that time.

“There’s good research showing that if you have a well-designed game there is an impact in as little as 10 minutes of playtime three times a week,” Parks said.

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