3C Institute CEO Melissa DeRosier, PhD, and Senior Research Associate Deb Childress, PhD, presented evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) games Zoo U and Stories in Motion for the second consecutive year at the annual ED Games Expo in Washington, DC, on December 14. Dr. DeRosier was also invited to present her research on Zoo U at the ED Games working meeting at the White House before the event.
The expo featured game developers funded by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs at the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and other federal agencies. Attendees mingled with the developers while playing educational games in SEL, mental health, and stress resilience, among others.
The theme of the White House working meeting was “cutting edge research in the design and evaluation of learning games.” Along with building capacity for research, participants coordinated a plan for a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.
Deb Childress, PhD, discusses Stories in Motion, an online game that helps elementary students with autism spectrum disorder improve their social skills through targeted social stories intervention.
Zoo U for K–5 is an online game that assesses children’s SEL skills and provides a personalized intervention based on that assessment. Players are students in a school for zookeepers, where Principal Wild and friendly animals help them learn critical skills, such as empathy, communication, and emotion regulation, as they navigate common SEL scenarios. Kids who play Zoo U feel more socially confident, behave less aggressively, and are better able to regulate their emotions.
Stories in Motion is an online social visualization program that empowers upper elementary students with autism spectrum disorder to improve their social skills by generating illustrated narratives around challenging social scenarios. Students create individualized stories from a bank of common social challenges, including bullying, impulse control, and nonverbal communication, which they can keep for reference as animated videos or comic books. Kids who play Stories in Motion show a greater understanding of how to cope in social situations, including how to better control their anxiety and impulses and effectively transition across settings.
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