Minecraft 101? Nonprofit working to help minority kids learn through gaming

ATLANTA — Parents may have just about had it with their kids playing too many video games -- but a local nonprofit thinks these games are packed with so many benefits -- they're putting them in schools!

Nonprofit Cxmmunity works to get gaming technology into the hands of more local minority kids and teens. Cxmmunity also uses corporate and community partners to bring gaming systems to Atlanta schools, helping level the playing field for future tech jobs.

Cxmmunity founder Ryan Johnson talked to Channel 2 Action News about the organization’s mission.

"So when you look at gaming, there's playing, there's testing, and there's also creating," Johnson said. "A lot of that is STEM-related skills around computer science, coding and software development."

Johnson said playing games allows kids to study different science skills that could lead to careers in video game design and video game testing.

But do parents buy the concept of learning from games?

Lawonza Parker said she was skeptical at first about her fifth-grade son, Joseph “MJ” Parker, playing too many video games.

"As soon as we would get home from school, the first thing he wants to do is throw his book bag down and he wants to play video games," Parker said.

"She used to say 'First, you need to do your homework' and stuff. 'Study harder,'" MJ said. "I actually learned a whole lot from video games."

After seeing what MJ was learning, Parker changed her mind. Now, MJ is a regular at Cxmmunity.

“That ‘aha’ moment for me was when I actually saw him playing a video game where he was designing a rocket. It was engineering, basically,” Parker said. “I actually get excited now because I see he’s learning life skills.”