When his young daughter was learning to read, Michael John, Game Director at the Games, Learning and Assessment (Glass) Lab—and known to friends and colleagues as MJ—met with her teacher, according to Impatient Optimists, the blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The teacher explained a concept called “scaffolding,” in which she would push each student a little bit with a new reading challenge, allow her to cement new concepts, and push her again. To John, this was more than familiar – it was exactly what he did for video game players every day as a game designer for...

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