This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Play Time?: Kids and Game-Based Learning

#sxsw #PlayTime

There is a lot of talk at the government, industry, and producer level about the promise of games in education, but has anyone really proven true educational outcomes from informal gaming? In this presentation, Sara and Drew will share some of the most effective gameplay mechanics for teaching kids, discuss how challenges and rewards influence outcomes, showcase video of kids engaged in gameplay, present some of the latest theories for skill-scaffolding within games, and share outcome data from real educational gaming evaluations. Using specific examples, we will show how learning and well-designed games share important traits (like fun, frustration, failure and flow) that get kids engaged and motivated.



Drew Davidson Dir CMU

Drew Davidson is a professor, producer and player of interactive media. His background spans academic, industry and professional worlds and he is interested in stories across texts, comics, games and other media. He is the Director of the Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University and the Editor of ETC Press.

Sara DeWitt VP, PBS KIDS Interactive PBS

As Vice President of PBS KIDS Interactive, Sara DeWitt oversees day-to-day development of PBS’ Internet sites for kids and families, including the Webby-award winning

DeWitt has led aggressive strategies to build connected and immersive experiences on PBS’ children’s Web sites. This includes the preschool ( and early elementary school age ( Web sites, which now serve nearly 85 million video streams monthly, and offer more than 500 games and activities. PBS’s children’s sites reach an average of 9 million unique visitors per month.

DeWitt has also been instrumental in launching PBS KIDS Island ( – a literacy-based Web site for families and teachers that is part of PBS KIDS Raising Readers, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready To Learn grant to help children ages 2-8 from low-income families learn to read. DeWitt also assists in the development of content on new platforms, including PBS KIDS iPhone apps ( and PBS KIDS Interactive White Board games (

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