School of Education News

WISC puts spotlight on UW-Madison video game that may help build empathy

September 13, 2018

The groundbreaking video game work of UW-Madison’s Gear Learning was featured in a recent report from Madison’s local CBS affiliate, WISC-TV/Ch. 3.

Gear Learning is a game development studio housed within the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research and led by Michael Beall.

The WISC report explains how new research out of UW-Madison shows that a video game may have the power to help children develop empathy and socially beneficial behaviors such as generosity.

Mike Beal
Mike Beal, who directs Gear Learning within the Wisconsin
Center for Education Research, speaks with WISC-TV/Ch. 3.
The game "At Play in the Cosmos" takes players to space, where they can learn astronomy and physics. It’s designed for college students, but younger children are picking it up, too.

"You could learn about stuff by using games, by not just having fun but learning,” 10-year-old Brady Castree tells WISC.

"My hope is that education (in the future) looks very different than it does today,” Beal says in the report.

UW-Madison’s Richard Davidson, who heads the Center on Healthy Minds, decided several years ago that he wanted to build empathy and generous behavior in children, WISC reports, so he looked at what's already grabbing their attention: video games.

"This trend is certainly not going to go away, and so rather than trying to beat them, we wish to join them,” he tells WISC.

Learn how Beal and developers got to work, collaborating with experts, to build a video game to fulfill Davidson’s vision.

The entire report, which makes note of a study looking into the effects of the video game, can be viewed for free on this Channel3000.com web page.


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