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Video games and pro-social learning

Video games and pro-social learning

Gene Koo, Berkman Fellow, & Scott C. Seider, Boston University

Tuesday, May 19, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor

RSVP required for those attending in person (
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET.

Video games -- whether "casual" or "hardcore," single- or multi-player, mainstream or independent -- have become a powerful cultural force. Researchers have extensively investigated whether games "cause" aggressive tendencies and other negative attitudes and behaviors. Considerably less attention has focused on whether games offer anything positive to game players and society. In their chapter in a forthcoming volume on video games and ethics, co-authors Gene Koo and Scott Seider attempt to bridge among the disparate fields of video game studies, the learning sciences, and traditional "moral education" and "character education." This presentation sketches their main arguments and focuses particularly on the most interesting implications, including games that reach out beyond the digital interface and directly change player behaviors. For example, Mr. Koo believes as the most influential "video game" (very loosely defined) in recent history, alongside the "Toyota Prius game."

About Gene

Gene Koo focuses on emerging methods of education in a digitally networked world. In collaboration with the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, he is developing a commons where law professors can collaboratively create teaching materials. He also studies the intersection of video games and moral development.

Gene helped found  Legal Aid University, which provides training and professional development to poverty lawyers across the nation. Prior to his appointment at the Berkman Center, Gene worked at Mass. Law Reform Institute, where he coordinated a knowledge management website for the state (, helped develop a portal to educate Massachusetts residents on their legal rights (, and advised on technical and practical implementation of a statewide case management system. He is also involved with efforts across several law schools to use virtual environments for legal instruction (CyberOne, State of Play Academy).

Gene graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2002, where he wrote his final paper on the effectiveness of online discussion systems as a complement to traditional law school classes. He graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude in 1997 with a concentration in Social Studies.

About Scott

Scott Seider is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Teaching at Boston University where he coordinates the English Education program. His research focuses on the sociopolitical development of adolescents and emerging adults, and his work has been published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Adolescent Research and Journal of Research in Character Education. A former teacher in the Westwood (MA) and Boston Public Schools, Dr. Seider earned his Doctorate in Education from Harvard University where he trained under Dr. Howard Gardner.


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Past Event
May 19, 2009
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM