Professional Development

Building Bridges – Finding Connections Between Video Gaming and Social Learning **

Presented by Anna Vagin, Ph.D. (3 Hours)

Many students with social learning challenges have a strong connection to video games – they love (and sometimes seem addicted to) games ranging from Club Penguin to Minecraft to Call of Duty Black Ops 2.  This presentation will first explore the question “Why are these games so riveting to the students with whom we work?” drawing on Gamification and Flow theories. There will be video examples of conversations between students exploring their gaming experiences, as well as ways to address this issue head-on, with students as well as parents.

The presenter will then focus on how we can harness the engagement value of games for our work in social thought. Information regarding how to build video gaming into therapy sessions, whether actually playing or just talking about game favorites, will be provided. Pictorial and video examples will show ways to engage with students in discussions that get them to recognize and/or practice social components of gaming, such as cooperation, negotiation, flexibility, anger management, filtering of comments, and supporting others. Specific examples will be shown of ways to build bridges from positive gaming experiences to “real life” and “away from console” interactions, as we bring the idea of “co-op” into our sessions, onto the playground, and into the workplace. This presentation is appropriate for those working with students who may have diagnoses such as ASD, ADHD, NVLD, Language Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Social Communication Disorder or Twice Exceptional.