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Gaming SEL

Games as Transformational to Social and Emotional Learning

Matthew Farber

Games enable children to practice emotions in spaces that are free from actualized consequences. With thoughtful guidance, games can help children manage emotions, perspective-take, demonstrate empathic concern, and exhibit prosocial behaviors.

Emerging research suggests that these competencies—also known as social and emotional learning (SEL) skills—are, in fact, teachable. In Gaming SEL: Games as Transformational to Social and Emotional Learning, Matthew Farber investigates the rich opportunities games have in supporting SEL skill development. Experts from the fields of education, game development, and SEL—including folks from CASEL, the Fred Rogers Center, Greater Good in Education, iThrive Games, Minecraft Education, and UNESCO MGIEP—share advice.

Games themselves cannot be responsible for children’s learning. Having a supportive educator or caregiver guiding experiences can be crucial. This book also includes recommendations for embedding games in classrooms in ways that support meaningful SEL skill development. Regardless of your experience, content area, or grade level, this book is for you!

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List of Figures

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Figure 1.Screenshot from GRIS

Figure 2.Peekapak’s SEL Check-in Tool

Figure 3.CASEL’s SEL Framework

Figure 4.EMC2 Framework for Social and Emotional Learning

Figure 5.Youth-designed Immigrants and Border Patrol Track Game

Figure 6.Situational Game Design

Figure 7.Crystals of Kaydor Emotion Identification User Interface (UI)

Figure 8.Image of The Mindful Knight Book and Quill

Figure 9.Floating Bedroom in Kind Words

Figure 10.Student Reflection After Playing Kind Words

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