Video Gaming Clubs & Social-Emotional Learning

Video Gaming Clubs & Social-Emotional Learning

By Larry Jacobs

There’s great stuff going on in K-12 education these days. Yeah, there is!

If you watch the news, all we hear about in education these days is the crazy stuff. We see parents and administrators who scream and yell at each other all the time over masks or whatever as they set a really bad example for our kids. So let’s talk about the good stuff.

I’m no gamer! The last video game I played was Pong. Actually it was so long ago, it was called ‘Pon’ because the letter ‘G” hadn’t been invented yet. Which means I would have never thought to use today’s video games as a means to teach social-emotional learning to students, but on this Education Talk Radio podcast, I met a teacher who did do just that — and it’s working so well, he actually started a nonprofit called Video Gaming Clubs of America at vgcusa.org so all K-12 educators could join in the fun with their students.

They’re supporting social and emotional learning with the help of gaming — not for the sake of competition, but for the sake of developing life skills like self confidence and resiliency in students — and they’re having great success with it.

That teacher’s name is Josh Bound and he teaches high school social studies in Chambersburg, PA. He created the club, signed up for a TED Talk to talk about it publicly, added the non-profit idea into his speech on the advice of his school librarian, and the rest is history. VGUSA now has more than 100 active schools and they produce a big conference for teachers and students in Harrisburg. They also produce a whole bunch of kids who have learned leadership, management and coping skills as their confidence and resiliency builds, all from gaming.

JFK said, “We choose to go to the moon, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard,” Which just goes to show ya, ain’t nothing wrong with a challenge! I thought about that quote when a female student who joined our podcast said, “Mr. Bound had us put together the entire conference ourselves. It was hard.”

Next stop, maybe for your students and children, fly them to the moon, Why not?

Listen to Josh and me and the kids here