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Assessing and Teaching Social-Emotional Skills through Games

Many parents and educators have concerns about the potential negative effects of gaming on children’s social skills. But 3C Institute, a research and development company, is turning this idea on its head and developing evidence-based intelligent games designed to help children improve their social-emotional development.


3C Institute has created Zoo U Assessment, an evidence-based computer game that assesses social skills in upper elementary school children. Zoo U Assessment evaluates children’s social skills in 6 key areas – impulse control, emotion regulation, communication, empathy, initiation, and cooperation – and can be used to help educators and clinicians make informed social-emotional intervention decisions and identify children prone to bullying behavior. A new version of Zoo U takes this approach one step further by integrating the game-based social skills assessment into an intelligent social tutoring system (ISTS) to provide a fully integrated social skills intervention package. This new and improved version of Zoo U will be available to parents as well as educators and clinicians later this year.


3C Institute is also developing several other intelligent games for social-emotional learning – S.S.GRIN, an adventure game version of their evidence-based social skills intervention; Stories in Motion, a social stories development game for children with autism; and Hall of Heroes, a game to assist 5th and 6th graders with the transition from elementary to middle school.


These intelligent games were/are funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more about these games at



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Idea No. 87