The Engagement Crisis

Too many children are “bored to tears” with conventional learning options, and low-income youth are dropping out of school in droves. According to Child Trends (2012), nearly one in five minority youths is dropping out of school, and in some lower socioeconomic communities, this number approaches 50% (as of 2007; Swanson, 2010). Can we square these data constructively with better designed, game-infused curricula such as those being offered by pioneers such as Quest to Learn?

The STEM and College Graduation Crises

According to recent international comparison data, U.S. students are falling further behind other industrialized countries in everything from math (25th place) and science scores (17th) to the proportion of young people with college degrees (14th; see Hechinger, 2010; U.S. Department of Education, 2012). The challenges our young people now face in an interconnected, digitally driven global landscape require a new set of competitive and cooperative skills. Design competitions and more active uses of project- or inquiry-based learning are gaining currency in high performing schools. Can games be more integrated in these increasingly popular “active learning” approaches to education, seeing as how they are interactive and participatory?

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