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Professor Examines Use of Video Games in Class

At one time, news coverage centered on worries about video games’ negative influence on kids — but these days, they are making headlines because of the ways they are being used to help students learn. An avalanche of research supporting video games’ ability to encourage academic development has driven momentum on this issue.

Michael Thomas, UNC Charlotte educational leadership professor, studies the evolving relationship between education and games. He said the work of fellow researcher Constance Steinkuehler, associate professor of digital media, University of Wisconsin-Madison, sheds light on how video games help kids develop scientific habits of mind.

"Experts do not simply do something expertly. They share information with other experts. They trade ideas and strategies. They create tools to benefit the community of experts. They debate. They even fight. They collectively struggle to refine their skills and knowledge related to their expertise. This is true of gamers and it is true of scientists," Thomas explained.

Graduate Students Awarded Veteran Assistantships

Three military veterans will begin earning their master’s degrees at UNC Charlotte aided by substantial awards provided by the University’s Graduate School. The funding, called assistantships, will cover tuition and health insurance, plus a $12,000 annual stipend. Total value of each assistantship is roughly $36,000. The awards require the students to aid professors in their departments with research and teaching.

Associate Provost and Graduate School Dean Tom Reynolds initiated the program that will select three military veterans each year to receive the two-year awards to pursue master’s or doctoral degrees. This year’s selected veterans represent the U.S. Army and Air Force; click here to learn more about the recipients.