Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently espoused the benefits of learning through video games, expressing her hope that game could help children advance in disciplines like civics and history.
"They're fabulous," O'Connor said of education games in an ABC interview
. "We've had tests done, and the students go up 20 percent in their knowledge by playing those games. It's just incredible."
Finding alternative education methods for areas outside math, science, and reading is crucial, she said. Because of the financial incentive placed on those core subjects, as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, "many of the schools just stopped teaching" children enough about government, civics, and history.
O'Connor cited Annenberg polls pegging American middle-schoolers as spending about 40 hours per week in front of television or computers.
"If we can capture just part of that time, a little bit of it, to get 'em in front of a computer screen to play these games, they're going to learn," she explained.
O'Connor is throwing the weight of her reputation and experience behind an initiative to take educational games into schools, speaking on their behalf and offering them freely to teachers. Her ABC interview came after she spoke at the New York-based Games for Change Festival, which aims to address real-world issues with video games.
"They don't even know they're learning," she added of the education-driven games. "They're fun. The games are great."