New Children's Games Combine Technology and Reality

The next big thing in computer games for kids: moving beyond the computer.

Both major media companies and start-ups are experimenting with new tools that combine technology and reality in a bid to get children to engage with real-world objects. And researchers are already investigating whether the new tools help kids learn better than regular computer games do.

Last month, children’s media giant PBS Kids, part of the Public Broadcasting Service, began testing games that use “augmented reality,” or computer-generated content that is combined with images from the real world. Using augmented reality, a computer or smartphone can detect objects and provide information about them. Children can also move the real objects to make something happen in a computer game.

Other games that bridge the gap between real and virtual ask kids to document their activities by taking photos, making videos or recording their location using a GPS device, typically with the help of their parents.

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