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Kids playing video games. Photo: sean dreilinger via Flickr.

Learning from Video Games

A lot of parents worry about whether their kids' video game habits are harmful - especially when gaming gets in the way of homework or reading. But writer Greg Toppo says gaming can be a great way to learn.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Invest in summer education programs

File under: education, social networks, ministry, literacy, math, science, summer camp

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From: Robyn H., Birmingham, AL

The Children's Fresh Air Farm in Birmingham, Alabama, is a ministry of the Independent Presbyterian Church. It focuses on long-term relationships with children from low-wealth communities who are struggling to meet reading goals in the first and second grade. Through the church's STAIR literacy program, church members tutor students during the school year. Then, during the summertime, children are invited to the farm, a sprawling summer camp where students receive intensive remedial education, as well as breakfast and lunch, outdoor recreation, and enrichment activities.

The camp is free, which allows more families to participate and helps keep students from falling behind academically over summer break. Children get a traditional summer camp experience in addition to academic enrichment. They also get the chance to visit sites around Birmingham, like the McWane Science Center, the Birmingham Art Museum, the Civil Rights Institute, and Jones Valley Urban Farm.

I wrote a story about this camp on our blog, and received a tremendous response from the local community in praise of this project. I think it's a great example of a church congregation building relationships with those they serve and making a real impact in their community.

Students take a nationally normalized test to assess reading and math before and after camp, and they get education and enrichment from licensed, professional teachers. The investment IPC has made in this program is really paying off; I think these children will see the benefits for years to come.


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American RadioWorks |
Kids playing video games. Photo: sean dreilinger via Flickr.

Learning from Video Games

A lot of parents worry about whether their kids' video game habits are harmful - especially when gaming gets in the way of homework or reading. But writer Greg Toppo says gaming can be a great way to learn.

Recent Posts

  • 06.17.15

    Teaching the Birds and the Bees

    For more than a century, Americans have been arguing about how to teach children about the birds and the bees in public schools. A new book argues that for all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it.
  • 06.11.15

    What can Japan teach us about teaching?

    Coming up this fall we'll be releasing a documentary about teacher preparation - how people learn to become teachers and how they get better once they're in the classroom. This week: how do Japanese teachers learn to improve on the job?
  • 06.02.15

    Million-Dollar Teacher

    When Nancie Atwell was growing up, she never thought she’d go to college, let alone become an award-winning teacher. But a few months ago, Atwell received a $1-million-dollar global prize for her decades of teaching English and literacy skills to elementary and middle schoolers.
  • 05.28.15

    Divestment on Campus

    Across the world, college students are urging their institutions to “divest” from fossil fuels. This week we ask: is the divestment movement working?